Skip to main content

Full text of "Chartism"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 

S /-Ut ■ ^ I2.0 . S-S 


BOD: M05.G01119 




" It never smokes but there is fire." — Old Provkrb. 





46 St. Martin's Lan«. 



I. Condition-of-England Question ... 1 

II. Statistics 9 * 

III. New Poor-Law 16 ' 

IV. Finest Peasantry in the World . . . 24 • 
V. Rights and Mights 36 ' 

VI. Laissez-Faire 49 * 

VII. Not Laissez-Faire . . . . . . 63 - 

VIII. New Eras 69 . 

IX. Parliamentary Radicalism . . . .89 
X. Impossible . 96 




A FEELING very generally exists that the conditiou 
and disposition of the Working Classes is a rather 
ominous matter at present ; that something ought to 
be said, something ought to be done, in regard to it. 
And surely, at an epoch of history when the * National 
Petition' carts itself in waggons along the streets, and 
is presented * bound with iron hoops, four men bearing 
it,' to a Reformed House of Commons ; and Chartism 
numbered by the million and half, taking nothing by 
its iron-hooped Petition, breaks out into brickbats, 
cheap pikes, and even into sputterings of conflagration, 
such very general feeling cannot be considered un- 
natural ! To us individually this matter appears, and 
has for many years appeared, to be the most ominous 
of all practical matters whatever ; a matter in regard 
to which if something be not done, something will do 
itself one day, and in a fashion that will please nobody. 
The time is verily come for acting in it ; how much 
more for consultation about acting in it, for speech 
and articulate inquiry about it ! 



We are aware that, according to the newspapers, 
Chartism is extinct ; that a Reform Ministry has * put 
down the chimera of Chartism' in the most felicitous 
effectual manner. So say the newspapers ; — an^ yet, 
alas, most readers of newspapers know withal that it 
is indeed the * chimera' of Chartism, not the reality, 
which has been put down. The distracted incoherent 
embodiment of Chartism, whereby in late months it 
took shape and became visible, this has been put 
down ; or rather has fallen down and gone asunder by 
gravitation and law of nature : but the living essence 
of Chartism has not been put down. Chartism means 
the bitter discontent grown fierce and mad, the wrong 
condition therefore or the wrong disposition, of the 
Working Classes of England. It is a new name for a 
thing which has had many names, which will yet have 
many. The matter of Chartism is weighty, deep- 

♦ rooted, far-extending ; did not begin yesterday ; will 
by no means end this day or to-morrow. Reform Mi- 
nistry, constabulary rural police, new levy of soldiers, 
grants of money to Birmingham ; all this is well, or is 

. not well ; all this will put down only the embodiment 
or* * chimera' of Chartism. The essence continuing, 
jiew and ever new embodiments, chimeras madder or 
less mad, have to continue. The melancholy fact re- 
mains, that this thing known at present by . the name 
Chartism does exist ; has existed ; and, either * put 
down,' into secret treason, with rusty pistols, vitriol- 
bottle and match-box, or openly brandishing pike and 
torch (one knows not in which case vnore fatal-looking), 
is like to exist till quite other methods have been tried 
with it. What means this bitter discontent of the 


Working Classes ? Whepce comes it, whither goes it ? 
Above all, at what price, on what terms, will it pro- 
bably consent to depart from us and die into rest? 
These are questions. 

To say that it is mad, incendiary, nefarious, is no 
answer. To say all this, in never so many dialects, is 
saying little. * Glasgow Thuggery,' 'Glasgow Thugs ;* 
it is a witty nickname : the practice of * Number 60' 
entering his dark room, to contract for and settle the 
price of blood with operative assassins, in a Christian 
city, once distinguished by its rigorous Christianism, is 
doubtless a fact worthy of all horror : but what will 
horror do for it ? What will execration ; nay at bottom, 
what will condemnation and banishment to Botany Bay 
do for it? Glasgow Thuggery, Chartist torch-meet- 
ings, Birmingham riots, Swing conflagrations, are so 
many symptoms on the surface ; you abolish the symp- 
tom to no purpose, if the disease is left untouched. 
Boils on the surface are curable or incurable, — small 
matter which, while the virulent humour festers deep 
within ; poisoning the sources of life ; and certain 
enough to find for itself ever new boils and sore is- 
sues ; ways of announcing that it continues there, tha^ 
it would fain not continue there. 

Delirious Chartism will not have raged entirely 
to no purpose, as indeed no earthly thing does so, if it 
have forced all thinking men of the community to 
think of this vital matter, too apt to be overlooked 
otherwise. Is the condition of the English working 
people wrong ; so wrong that rational working men 
cannot, will not, and even should not rest quiet under 
it ? A most grave case, complex beyond all others in 


the world ; a case wherein Botany Bay, constabulary 
rural police, and such like, will avail but little. Or is 
the discontent itself mad, like the shape it took ? Not 
the condition of the working people that is wrong ; but 
their disposition, their own thoughts, beliefs and feel- 
ings that are wrong? This too were a most grave 
case, little less alarming, little less complex than the 
former one. In this case too, where constabulary po- 
lice and mere rigour of coercion seems more at home, 
coercion will by no means do all, coercion by itself 
will not even do much. If there do exist general 
madness of discontent, then sanity and some measure 
of content must be brought about again, — ^not by con- 
stabulaiy police alone. When the thoughts of a people, 
in the great mass of it, have grown mad, the combined 
issue of that people's workings will be a madness, an 
incoherency and ruin I Sanity will have to be re- 
covered for the general mass ; coercion itself will other- 
wise cease to be able to coerce. 

We have heard it asked. Why Parliament throws 
no light on this question of the Working Classes, and 
the condition or disposition they are in ? Truly to a 
remote observer of Parliamentary procedure it seems 
surprising, especially in late Reformed times, to see 
what space this question occupies in the Debates of 
the Nation. Can any other business whatsoever be so 
pressing on legislators ? A Reformed Parliament, one 
would think, should inquire into popular discontents 
before they get the length of pikes and torches I For 
what end at all are men. Honourable Members and 
Reform Members, sent to St Stephen's, with clamour 
and effort; kept talking, struggling, motioning and 


counter-motioning ? The condition of the great body 
of people in a country is the condition of the country 
itself : this you would say is a truism in all times ; a 
truism rather pressing to get recognised as a truth now, 
and be acted upon, in these times. Yet read Hansard's 
Debates, or the Morning Papers, if you have nothing 
to do I The old grand question, whether A is to be in 
office or B, with the innumerable subsidiary questions 
growing out of that, courting paragraphs and suffrages 
for a blessed solution of that : Canada question, Irish 
Appropriation question, West India question. Queen's 
Bedchamber question ; Game Laws, Usury Laws ; Afri- 
can Blacks, Hill Coolies, Smithfield cattle, and Dog- 
carts,-4aU manner of questions and subjects, except 
simply this the alpha and omega of all ! Surely Ho- 
nourable Members ought to speak of the Condition-of- 
England question too*^ Radical Members, above all; 
friends of the people ; chosen with effort, by the people, 
to interpret and articulate the dumb deep want of the 
people I To a remote observer they seem oblivious of 
their duty. Are they not there, by trade, mission, and 
express appointment of themselves and others, to speak 
for the good of the British Nation ? Whatsoever great 
British interest, can the least speak for itself, for that 
beyond all they are called to speak. They are either 
speakers for that great dumb toiling class which cannot 
speak, or they are nothing that one can well specify. 

Alas, the remote observer knows not the nature 
of Parliaments : how Parliaments, extant there for the 
British Nation's sake, find that they are extant withal 
for their own sake; how Parliaments travel so natu- 
rally in their deep-rutted routine, common-place worn 

• . 


into ruts axle-deep, from which only strength, insight 
and cours^eous generous exertion can lift any Parlia- 
ment or vehicle; how in Parliaments, Reformed or Un- 
reformed, there may chance to be a strong man, an 
original, clear-sighted, great-hearted, patient and valiant 
man, or to be none such; — ^how, on the whole, Parlia- 
ments, lumbering along in their deep ruts of common- 
place, find, as so many of us otherwise do, that the 
ruts are axle-deep, and the travelling very toilsome of 
itself, and for the day the evil thereof sufficient I What 
Parliaments ought to have done in this business, what 
they will, can or cannot yet do, and where the limits of 
their faculty and culpability may lie, in regard to it, 
were a long investigation ; into which we need not 
enter at this moment. What they have done is un- 
happily plain enough. Hitherto, on this most national 
of questions, the Collective Wisdom of the Nation has 
availed us as good as nothing whatever. 

And yet, as we say, it is a question which cannot 
be left to the Collective Folly of the Nation I In 
or out of Parliament, darkness, neglect, hallucination 
must contrive to cease in regard to it; true insight into 
it must be had. How inexpressibly useful were true 
insight into it ; a genuine understanding by the upper 
classes of society what it is that the under classes in- 
trinsically mean ; a clear interpretation of the thought 
which at heart torments these wild inarticulate souls, 
struggling there, with inarticulate uproar, like dumb 
creatures in pain, unable to speak what is in them I 
Something they do mean; some true thing withal, 
in the centre of their confused hearts, — for they are 
hearts created by Heaven too: to the Heaven it is 


clear what thing ; to us not clear. Would that it were ! 
Perfect clearness on it were equivalent to remedy of it. 
For, as is well said, all battle is misunderstanding ; did 
the parties know one another, the battle would cease. 
No man at bottom means injustice; it is always for 
some obscure distorted image of a right that he con- 
tends : an obscure image diffracted, exaggerated, in 
the wonderfuUest way, by natural dimness and self- 
ishness ; getting tenfold more diffracted by exaspera- 
tion of contest, till at length it become all but irre- 
cognisable ; yet still the image of a right. Could a 
man own to himself that the thing he fought for was 
wrong, contrary to fairness and the law of reason, he 
would own also that it thereby stood condemned and 
hopeless ; he could fight for it no longer. Nay inde- 
pendently of right, could the contending parties get 
but accurately to discern one another's might and 
strength to contend, the one would peaceably yield to 
the other and to Necessity ; the contest in this case 
too were oyer. No African expedition now, as in the 
days of Herodotus, is fitted out against the South-wind, 
One expedition was satisfactory in that department. 
The South-wind Simoom continues blowing occasion- 
ally, hateful as ever, maddening as ever ; but one ex- 
pedition was enough. Do we not all submit to Death? 
The highest sentence of the law, sentence of death, is 
passed on all of us by the fact of birth ; yet we live pa- 
tiently under it, patiently undergo it when the hour 
comes. Clear undeniable right, clear undeniable might : 
either of these once ascertained puts an end to battle. 
All battle is a confused experiment to ascertain one 
and both of these. 



What are the rights, what are the mights of the dis- 
contented Working Classes in England at this epoch ? 
He were an CEdipus, and deliverer from sad social 
pestilence, who could resolve us fully I For we may 
say beforehand, The struggle that divides the upper 
and lower in society over Europe, and more painfully 
and notably in England than ebewhere, this too is a 
struggle which will end and adjust itself as all other 
struggles do and have done, by making the right clear 
and the might clear ; not otherwise than by that. Mean- 
time, the questions. Why are the Working Classes dis- 
contented ; what is their condition, economical, moral, 
in their houses and their hearts, as it is in reality and 
as they figure it to themselves to be ; what do they 
complain of; what ought they, and ought they not 
to complain of? — these are measurable questions ; on 
some of these any common mortal, did he but turn his 
eyes to them, might throw some light. Certain re- 
searches and considerations of ours on the matter, 
since no one else will undertake it, are now to be made 
public. The researches have yielded us little, almost 
nothing; but the considerations are of old date, knd 
press to have utterance. We are not without hope 
that our general notion of the business, if we can 
get it uttered at all, will meet some assent from many 
candid men. 



A WITTY statesman said you might prove anything by 
figures. We have looked into various statistic works, 
Statistic-Society Reports, Poor-Law Reports, Reports 
and Pamphlets not a few, with a sedulous eye to this 
question of the Working Classes and their general con- 
dition in England ; we grieve to say, with as good as 
no result whatever. Assertion swallows assertion ; ac- 
cording to the old Proverb, * as the statist thinks, the 
bell clinks I' Tables are like cobwebs, like the sieve 
of the Danaides; beautifully reticulated, orderly to 
look upon, but which will hold no conclusion. Tables 
are abstractions, and the object a most concrete one, 
so difRcult to read the essence of. There are innu- 
merable circumstances ; and one circumstance left out 
may be the vital one on which all turned. Statistics 
is a science which ought to be honourable, the basis 
of many mpst important sciences ; but it is not to be 
carried on by steam, this science, any more than others 
are ; a wise head is requisite for carrying it on. Con- 
clusive facts are inseparable from inconclusive except 
by a head that already understands and knows. Vain 
to send the purblind and blind to the shore of aPactolus 
never so golden : these find only gravel ; the seer and 
finder alone picks up gold grains there. And now the 
purblind offering you, with asseveration and protrusive 
importunity, his basket of gravel as gold, what steps 



are to be taken with him? — Statistics, one may hope, 
will improve gradually, and become good for some- 
thing. Meanwhile it is to be feared, the crabbed sa- 
tirist was partly right, as things go : * A judicious man, 
says he, * looks at Statistics, not to get knowledge, but 
to save himself from having ignorance foisted on him.' 
With what serene conclusiveness a member of some 
Useful-Knowledge Society stops your mouth with a 
figure of arithmetic I To him it seems he has there 
extracted the elixir of the matter, on which now no- 
thing more can be said. It is needful that you look 
into his said extracted elixir ; and ascertain, alas, too 
probably, not without a sigh, that it is wash and va- 
pidity, good only for the gutters. 

Twice or three times have we heard the lamenta- 
tions and prophecies of a humane Jeremiah, mourner 
for the poor, cut short by a statistic fact of the most 
decisive nature : How can the condition of the poor be 
other than good, be other than better ; has not the aver- 
age duration of life in England, and therefore among 
the most numerous class in England, been proved to 
have increased ? Our Jeremiah had to admit that, if 
so, it was an astounding fact ; whereby all tl^at ever he, 
for his part, had observed on other sides of the matter 
was overset without remedy. If life last longer, life 
must be less worn upon, by outward suffering, by in- 
ward discontent, by hardship of any kind ; the general 
condition of the poor must be bettering instead of 
worsening. So was our Jeremiah cut short. And 
now for the * proof*? Readers who are curious in 
statistic proofs may see it drawn out with all solemnity, 
in a Pamphlet * published by Charles Knight and Com- 


pany,** — and perhaps himself draw inferences from it. 
Northampton Tables, compiled by Dr. Price * from re- 
gisters of the Parish of All Saints from 1735 to 1780;* 
Carlisle Tables, collected by Dr. Heysham from ob- 
servation of Carlisle City for eight years, * the calcu- 
lations founded on them' conducted by another Doctor ; 
incredible ' document considered satisfactory by men 
of science in France :' — alas, is it not as if some zeal- 
ous scientific son of Adam had proved the deepening 
of the Ocean, by survey, accurate or cursory, of two 
mud-plashes on the coast of the Isle of Dogs ? ' Not 
to get knowledge, but to save yourself from having 
ignorance foisted on you ! ' 

The condition of the working man in this country, 
what it is and has been, whether it is improving or 
retrograding, — is a question to which from statistics 
hitherto no solution can be got. Hitherto, after many 
tables and statements, one is still left mainly to what 
he can ascertain by his own eyes, looking at the con- 
crete phenomenon for himself. There is no other 
method ; and yet it is a most imperfect method. Each 
man expands his own handbreadth of observation to 
the limits of the general whole; more or less, each 
man must take what he himself has seen and ascer- 
tained for a sample of all that is seeable and ascertain- 
able. Hence discrepancies, controversies, wide-spread, 
long-continued ; which there is at present no means or 
hope of satisfactorily ending. When Parliament takes 

* An Essay on the Means of Insurance against the Casualties 
of &c. &c. London, Charles Knight and Company, 1836. Price 
two shillings. 


up * the Condition-of-£ngland question/ as it will have 
to do one day, then indeed much may be amended ! 
Inquiries wbely gone into, even on this most complex 
matter, will yield results worth something, not nothing. 
But it is a most complex matter ; on which, whether 
for the past or the present, Statistic Inquiry, with its 
limited means, with its short vision and headlong ex- 
tensive dogmatism, as yet too often throws not light, 
but error worse than darkness. 

What constitutes the well-being of a man ? Many 
things ; of which the wages he gets, and the bread he 
buys with them, are but one preliminary item. Grant, 
however, that the wages were the whole; that once 
knowing the wages and the price of bread, we know 
all ; then what are the wages ? Statistic Inquiry, in its 
present un guided condition, cannot tell. The average 
rate of day's wages is not correctly ascertained for any 
portion of this country ; not only not for half-centu- 
ries, it is not even ascertained anywhere for decades 
or years: far from instituting comparisons with the 
past, the present itself is unknown to us. And then, 
given the average of wages, what is the constancy of 
employment ; what is the difficulty of finding employ- 
ment; the fluctuation from season to season, from year 
to year ? Is it constant, calculable wages ; or fluctu- 
ating, incalculable, more or less of the nature of gam- 
bling? This secondary circumstance, of quality in 
wages, is perhaps even more important than the pri- 
mary one of quantity. Farther we ask, Can the 
labourer, by thrift and industry, hope to rise to mas- 
tership ; or is such hope cut off from him ? How is ; 


[he. related to his employer; by bonds of friendliness 
and mutual help; or by hostility, opposition, and 
chains of mutual necessity alone ? In a word, what 
degree of contentment can a human creature be sup- 
posed to enjoy in that position? With hunger preying 
on him, his contentment is likely to be small! But 
even with abundance, his discontent, his real misery 
may be great. The labourer's feelings, his notion of 
being justly dealt with or unjustly ; his wholesome 
composure, frugality, prosperity in the one case, his 
acrid unrest, recklessness, gin-drinking, and gradual 
ruin in the other,— how shall figures of arithmetic 
represent all this? So much is still to be ascertained; 
much of it by no means easy to ascertain ! Till, among 
the *Hill Cooly' and * Dog-cart* questions, there arise 
in Parliament and extensively out of it a * Condition- 
of-£ngland question,' and quite a new set of inquirers 
and methods, little of it is likely to be ascertained. 

One fact on this subject, a fact which arithmetic 
is capable of representing, we have often considered 
would be worth all the rest : Whether the labourer, 
whatever his wages are, is saving money ? Laying up 
money, he proves that his condition, painful as it may 
be without and within, is not yet desperate ; that he 
looks forward to a better day coming, and is still reso- 
lutely steering towards the same ; that all the lights 
and darknesses of his lot are united under a blessed 
radiance of hope, — the last, first, nay one may say 
the sole blessedness of man. Is the habit of saving 
increased and increasing, or the contrary? Where 
the present writer has been able to look with his own 



I eyes, it is decreasing, and in many quarters all but 
/ disappearing. Statistic science turns up her Savings- 
Bank Accounts, and answers, "Increasing rapidly." 
Would that one could believe it I But the Danaides*- 
sieve character of such statistic reticulated documents 
is too manifest. A few years ago, in regions where 
thrift, to one's own knowledge, still was, Savings-Banks 
were not; the labourer lent his money to some farmer, 
of capital, or supposed to be of capital, — and has too 
often lost it since ; or he bought a cow with it, bought 
a cottage with it ; nay hid it under his thatch : the 
Savings-Banks books then exhibited mere blank and \/ 
zero. That they swell yearly now, if such be the fact, 
indicates that what thrift exists does gradually resort 
more and more thither rather than elsewhither; but 
the question. Is thrift increasing? runs through the 
reticulation, and is as water spilt on the ground, not 
be gathered here. 

These are inquiries on which, had there been a 
proper ' Condition-of-England question,' some light 
, would have been thrown, before ' torch-meetings' arose 
* to illustrate them ! Far as they lie out of the course 
of Parliamentary routine, they should have been gone 
into, should have been glanced at, iu one or the other 
fashion. A Legislature making laws for the Working 
Classes, in total uncertainty as to these things, is legis- 
lating in the dark; not wisely, nor to good issues. 
The simple fundamental question, Can the labouring 
man in this England of ours, who is willing to labour, 
find work, and subsistence by his work ? is matter of 
mere conjecture and assertion hitherto ; not ascertain- 




able by authentic evidence : the Legislature, satisfied 
to legislate in the dark, has not yet sought any evi- 
dence on it. They pass their New Poor-Law Bill, 
without evidence as to all this. Perhaps their New 
Poor-Law Bill is itself only intended as an expert- 
menkim crtLcis to ascertain all this? Chartism is an 
answer, seemingly not in the affirmative. 




To read the Reports of the Poor-Law Commissioners, if 
one had faith enough, would be a pleasure to the friend 
/^ of humanity. One sole recipe seems to have been 

needful for the woes of England : * refusal of out-door 
relief.* England lay in sick discontent, writhing power- 
less on its fever-bed, dark, nigh desperate, in waste- 
fulness, want, improvidence, and eating care, till like 
Hyperion down the eastern steeps, the Poor-Law Com- 
missioners arose, and said. Let there be workhouses, 
and bread of affliction and water of affliction there ! 
It was a simple invention ; as all truly great inventions 
are. And see, in any quarter, instantly as the walls of 
the workhouse arise, misery and necessity fly away, 
out of sight, — out of being, as is fondly hoped, and 
dissolve into the inane; industry, frugality, fertility, 
rise of wages, peace on earth and goodwill towards 
men do, — in the Poor-Law Commissioners* Reports, — 
infallibly, rapidly or not so rapidly, to the joy of all 
parties, supervene. It was a consummation devoutly 
to be wished. We have looked over- these four annual 
Poor-Law Reports with a variety of reflections ; with 
no thought that our Poor-Law Commissioners are the 
^ inhuman men their enemies accuse them of being; 

with a feeling of thankfulness rather that there do 
^ exist men of that structure too ; with a persuasion 
deeper and deeper that Nature, who makes nothing to 


no purpose, has not made either them or their Poor- 
Law Amendment Act in vain. We hope to prove that 
they and it were an indispensable element, harsh but 
salutary, in the progress of things. 

fThat this Poor-Law Amendment Act meanwhile 
should be, as we sometimes hear it named, the ' chief 
glory* of a Reform Cabinet, betokens, one would ima- 
gine, rather a scarcity of glory there. To say to the 
poor, Ye shall eat the bread of affliction and drink the 
water of affliction, and be very miserable while here, 
required not so much a stretch of heroic faculty in 
any sense, as due toughness of bowels. If paupers 
are made miserable, paupers will needs decline in mul- 
titude. It is a secret known to all rat-catchers : stop 
up the granary-crevices, afflict with continual mewing, 
alarm, and going-off of traps, your * chargeable la- 
bourers* disappear, and cease from the establishment. 
A still briefer method is that of arsenic ; perhaps even 
a milder, where otherwise permissible. Rats and pau- 
pers can be abolished ; the human faculty was from of 
old adequate to grind them down, slowly or at once, 
and needed no ghost or Reform Ministry to teach it. 
Furthermore when one hears of ' all the labour of the 
country being absorbed into employment* by this new 
system of affliction, when labour complaining of want 
can find no audience, one cannot but pause. That 
misery and unemployed labour should * disappear* in 
that case is natural enough ; should go out of sight, — 
but out of existence ? What we do know is that * the 
rates are diminished,* as they cannot well help being ; 
that no statistic tables as yet report much increase of 
deaths by starvation : this we do know, and not very 


conclusively anything more than this. If this be ab- 
sorption of all the labour of the country, then all the 
labour of the country is absorbed. 

To believe practically that the poor and luckless 
are here only as a nuisance to be abraded and abated, 
and in some permissible manner made away with, and 
swept out of sight, is not an amiable faith. That 
the arrangements of good and ill success in this per- 
plexed scramble of a world, which a blind goddess was 
always thought to preside over, are in fact the work of 
a seeing goddess or god, and require only not to be 
meddled with : what stretch of heroic faculty or inspi- 
ration of genius was needed to teach one that ? To 
button your pockets and stand still, is no complex 
recipe. Laissez faire, laissez passer ! Whatever goes 
on, ought it not to go on ; < the widow picking nettles 
for her children's dinner, and the perfumed seigneur 
delicately lounging in the CEil-du-Boeuf, who has an 
alchemy whereby he will extract from her the third 
nettle, and name it rent and law ?' What is written 
and enacted, has it not black- on- white to shew for 
itself? Justice is justice ; but all attorney's parch- 
ment is of the nature of Targum or sacred-parchment. 
In brief, ours is a world requiring only to be well 
let alone. Scramble along, thou insane scramble of 
a world, with thy pope's tiaras, king's mantles and 
beggar's gabardines, chivalry-ribbons and plebeian gal- 
lows-ropes, where a Paul shall die on the gibbet and a 
Nero sit fiddling as imperial Caesar ; thou art all right, 
and shalt scramble even so ; and whoever in the press 
is trodden down, has only to lie there and be trampled 
broad : — Such at bottom seems to be the chief social 


principle, if principle it have, which the Poor-Law 
Amendment Act has the merit of courageously as- 
serting, in opposition to many things. A chief social 
principle which this present writer, for one, will by no 
manner of means believe in, but pronounce at all fit 
times to be false, heretical and damnable, if ever 
aught was I 

And yet, as we said. Nature makes nothing in vain ; 
not even a Poor-Law Amendment Act. For withal 
we are far from joining in the outcry raised against 
these poor Poor-Law Commissioners, as if they were 
tigers in men's shape; as if their Amendment Act 
were a mere monstrosity and horror, deserving instant 
abrogation. They are not tigers ; they are men filled 
with an idea of a theory: their Amendment Act, 
heretical and damnable as a whole truth, is orthodox* 
laudable as a Aa^-truth; and was imperatively re- 
quired to be put in practice. To create men filled 
with a theory that refusal of out-door relief was the one 
thing needful : Nature had no readier way of getting 
out-door relief refused. In fact, if we look at the old 
Poor-Law, in its assertion of the opposite social prin- 
ciple, that Fortune's awards are not those of Justice, 
we shall find it to have become still more unsupport- 
able, demanding, if England was not destined for 
speedy anarchy, to be done away with. 

Any law, however well meant as a law, which ^^ 
has become a bounty on unthrift, idleness, bastardy j 
and beer-drinking, must be put an end to. In all ' 
ways it needs, especially in these times, to be pro- 
claimed aloud that for the idle man there is no place 
in this England of ours. He that will not work, and 



save according to his means, let him go elsewhither ; 
let him know that for him the Law has made no soft 
provision, but a hard and stern one ; that by the Law 
of Nature, which the Law of England would vainly 
contend against in the long-run, he is doomed either 
to quit these habits, or miserably be extruded from 
this Earth, which is made on principles different from 
these. He that will not work according to his faculty, 
let him perish according to his necessity : there is no 
law juster than that. Would to Heaven one could 
preach it abroad into the hearts of all sons and daugh- 
ters of Adam, for it is a law applicable to all ; and 
bring it to bear, with practical obligation strict as the 
Poor-Law Bastille, on all I We had then, in good 
truth, a * perfect constitution of society ;* and * God's 
fair Earth and Task-garden, where whosoever is not 
working must be begging or stealing,' were then ac- 
tually what always, through so many changes and 
struggles, it is endeavouring to become. 

That this law of No work no recompense, should 
first of all be enforced on the marmal worker, and 
brought stringently home to him and his numerous 
class, while so many other classes and persons still go 
loose from it, was natural to the case. Let it be 
enforced there, and rigidly made good. It behoves to 
be enforced everywhere, and rigidly made good; — 
alas, not by such simple methods as * refusal of out- 
door relief,' but by far other and costlier ones ; which 
too, however, a bountiful Providence is not unfurnished 
with, nor, in these latter generations (if we will under- 
stand their convulsions and confusions), sparing to 
apply. Work is the mission of man in this Earth. 


A day is ever struggling forward, a day will arrive in ' 
some approximate degree, when he who has no work 
to do, by whatever name he may be named, will not 
find it good to shew himself in our quarter of the 
Solar System ; but may go and look out elsewhere, 
If there be any Idle Planet discoverable? — Let the 
honest working man rejoice that such law, the first 
of Nature, has been made good on him ; and hope 
tjiat, by and by, all else will be made good. It is the 
beginning of all. fWe define the harsh New Poor-Law 
to he withal a * protection of the thrifty labourer 
against the thriftless and dissolute;' a thing inex- 
pressibly important; a /^a//^result, detestable, if you 
will, when looked upon as the whole result ; yet with- 
out which the whole result is forever unattainable. 
Let wastefulness, idleness, drunkenness, improvidence 
take the fate which God has appointed them; that 
their opposites may also have a chance for their fate. 
Let the Poor-Law Administrators be considered as 
useful labourers whom Nature has furnished with a 
whole theory of the universe, that they might accom- 
plish an indispensable fractional practice there, and 
prosper in it in spite of much contradiction. 

We will praise the New Poor-Law, farther, as the 


probable preliminary of some general charge to be 
taken of the lowest classes by the higher. Any gene- 
ral charge whatsoever, rather than a conflict of charges, 
varying from parish to parish; the emblem of darkness, 
of unreadable confusion. Supervisal by the central 
government, in what spirit soever executed, is super- 
visal from a centre. By degrees the object will be- 
come clearer, as it is at once made thereby universally 


conspicuous. By degrees true vision of it will become 
attainable, will be universally attained ; whatsoever 
order regarding it is just and wise, as grounded on the 
truth of it, will then be capable of being taken. Let 
us welcome the New Poor-Law as the harsh beginning 
of much, the harsh ending of much I Most harsh and 
barren lies the new ploughers* fallow-field, the crude 
subsoil all turned up, which never saw the sun ; which 
as yet grows no herb ; which has * out-door relief* for no 
one. Yet patience: innumerable weeds and corrup- 
tions lie safely turned down and extinguished under 
it ; this same crude subsoil is the first step of all true 
husbandry ; by Heaven's blessing and the skyey influ- 
ences, fruits that are good and blessed will yet come 
of it. 

For, in truth, the claim of the poor labourer is 
something quite other than that * Statute of the Forty- 
third of Elizabeth* will ever fulfil for him. Not to 
be supported by roundsmen systems, by never so 
liberal parish doles, or lodged in free and easy work- 
houses when distress overtakes him ; not for this, 
however in words he may glamour for it ; not for this, 
but for something far difierent does the heart of him 
struggle. It is * for justice* that he struggles ; for 
just wages,* — not in money alone ! ( An even-toiling 
inferior, he would fain (though as yet he knows it not) 
find for himself a superior that should lovingly and 
wisely govern : is not that too the * just wages* of his 
service done ? It is for a manlike place and relation, 
in this world where he sees himself a man, that he 
struggles. At bottom may we not say, it is even for 
this. That guidance and government, which he cannot 


give himself, which in our so complex world he can 
no longer do without, might be afforded him ? The 
thing he struggles for is one which no Forty-third of 
Elizabeth is in any condition to furnish him, to put 
him on the road towards getting. Let him quit the 
Forty-third of Elizabeth altogether ; and rejoice that 
the Poor-Law Amendment Act has, even by harsh 
methods and against his own will, forced him away 
from it. That was a broken reed to lean on, if there 
ever was one ; and did but run into his lamed right- 
hand. Let him cast it far from him, that broken reed, 
and look to quite the opposite point of the heavens for 
help. His unlamed right-hand, with the cunning 
industry that lies in it, is not this defined to be < the 
sceptre of our Planet* ? He that can work is a born 
king of something ; is in communion with Nature, 
is master of a thing or things, is a priest and king of 
Nature so far. He that can work at nothing is but a 
usurping king, be his trappings what they may ; he is 
the born slave of all things. Let a man honour his 
craftmanship, his can-do ; and know that his rights of 
man have no concern at all with the Forty-third of 





The New Poor-Law is an aDnouncement, sufficiently 
distinct, that whosoever will not work ought not to live. 
Can the poor man that is willing to work, always find 
work, and live by his work ? Statistic Inquiry, as we 
saw, has no answer to give. Legislation presupposes 
the answer — to be in the affirmative. A large postu- 
late ; which should have been made a proposition of ; 
which should have been demonstrated, made indubit- 
able to all persons I A man willing to work, and 
unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that 
Fortune's inequality exhibits under this sun. Burns 
expresses feelingly what thoughts it gave him : a poor 
man seeking work; seeking leave to toil that he might 
be fed and sheltered I That he might but be put on 
a level with the four-footed workers of the Planet which 
is his I There is not a horse willing to work but can 
get food and shelter in requital ; a thing this two-footed 
worker has to seek for, to solicit occasionallv in vain. 
He is nobody's two-footed worker ; he is not even 
anybody's slave. And yet he is a <w7o-footed worker ; 
it is currently reported there is an immortal soul in 
him, sent down out of Heaven into the Earth ; and one 
beholds him seeking for this ! — Nay what will a wise 
Legislature say, if it turn out that he cannot find it ; 
that the answer to their postulate proposition is not 
affirmative but negative ? 


There is one fact which Statistic Science has com- 
municated, and a most astonishing one ; the inference 
from which is pregnant as to this matter. Ireland has 
near seven millions of working people, the third unit 
of whom, it appears by Statistic Science, has not for 
thirty weeks each year as many third-rate potatoes as 
will suffice him. It is a fact perhaps the most eloquent 
that was ever written down in any language, at any 
date of the world's history. Was change and reforma- 
tion needed in Ireland ? Has Ireland been governed 
and guided in a 'wise and loving* manner? A go- 
vernment and guidance of white European men which 
has issued in perennial hunger of potatoes to the third 
man extant,— ought to drop a veil over its face, and 
walk out of court under conduct of proper officers ; 
saying no word ; expecting now of a surety sentence 
either to change or die. All men, we must repeat, 
were made by God, and have immortal souls in them. 
The Sanspotatoe is of the selfsame stuff as the super- 
finest Lord Lieutenant. Not an individual Sanspotatoe 
human scarecrow but had a Life given him out of 
Heaven, with Eternities depending on it ; for once and 
no second time. With Immensities in him, over him 
and round him ; with feelings which a Shakspeare's 
speech would not utter ; with desires illimitable as the 
Autocrat^s of all the Russias ! Him various thrice- 
honoured persons, things and institutions have long 
been teaching, long been guiding, governing : and it 
is to perpetual scarcity of third-rate potatoes, and to 
what depends thereon, that he has been taught and 
guided. Figure thyself, O high-minded, clear-headed, 
clean-burnished reader, clapt by enchantment into the 


torn coat and waste hunger-lair of that same root- 
devouring brother man ! — 

Social anomalies are things to be defended, things 
to be amended ; and in all places and things, short of 
the Pit itself, there is some admixture of worth and 
good. Room for extenuation, for pity, for patience I 
And yet when the general result has come to the length 
of perennial starvation, argument, extenuating logic, 
pity and patience on that subject may be considered as 
drawing to a close. It may be considered that such 
arrangement of things will have to terminate. That 
it has all just men for its natural enemies. That all 
just men, of what outward colour soever in Politics 
or otherwise, will say: This cannot last, Heaven dis- 
owns it. Earth is against it ; Ireland will be burnt into 
a black unpeopled field of ashes rather than this should 
last. — The woes of Ireland, or * justice to Ireland,* is 
not the chapter we have to write at present. It is a 
deep matter, an abyssmal one, which no plummet of 
ours will sound. For the oppression has gone far 
farther than into the economics of Ireland ; inwards to 
her very heart and soul. The Irish National charac- 
ter is degraded, disordered ; till this recover itself, 
nothing is yet recovered. Immethodic, headlong, 
violent, mendacious : what can you make of the 
wretched Irishman ? *< A finer people never lived," 
as the Irish lady said to us ; " only they have two 
faults, they do generally lie and steal : barring 
these" — I A people that knows not to speak the 
truth, and to act the truth, such people has departed 
from even the possibility of well-being. Such people 
works no longer on Nature and Reality; works now 


on Fantasm, Simulation, Nonentity; the result it ar- 
rives at is naturally not a thing but no-thing, — defect 
even of potatoes. Scarcity, futility, confusion, dis- 
traction must be perennial there. Such a people cir- 
culates not order but disorder, through every vein of 
it ; — and the cure, if it is to be a cure, must begin at 
the heart : not in his condition only but in himself 
must the Patient be all changed. Poor Ireland ! And 
yet let no true Irishman, who believes and sees all this, 
despair by reason of it. Cannot he too do something 
to withstand the unproductive falsehood, there as it 
lies accursed around him, and change it into truth, 
which is fruitful and blessed ? Every mortal can and 
shall himself be a true man : it is a great thing, and 
the parent of great things ; — as from a single acorn the 
whole earth might in the end be peopled with oaks ! 
Every mortal can do something : this let him faithfully 
do, and leave with assured heart the issue to a Higher 
Power ! 

We English pay, even now, the bitter smart of long 
centuries of injustice to our neighbour Island. Injus- 
tice, doubt it not, abounds ; or Ireland would not be 
miserable. The Earth is good, bountifully sends food 
and increase ; if man's unwisdom did not intervene 
and forbid. It was an evil day when Strigul first 
meddled with that people. He could not extirpate 
them : could they but have agreed together, and ex- 
tirpated him I Violent men there have been, and 
merciful ; unjust rulers, and just ; conflicting in a great 
element of violence, these five wild centuries now ; and 
the violent and unjust have carried it, and we are come 
to this. England is guilty towards Ireland ; and reaps 


at last, in full measure, the fruit of fifteen generations 
of wrong-doing. 

But the thing we had to state here was our infer- 
ence from that mournful fact of the third Sanspotatoe, 
— coupled with this other well-known fact that the 
Irish speak a partially intelligible dialect of English, 
and their fare across by steam is four-pence sterling ! 
Crowds of miserable Irish darken all our towns. The 
wild Milesian features, looking false ingenuity, restless- 
ness, unreason, misery and mockery, salute you on all 
highways and byways. The English coachman, as he 
whirls past, lashes the Milesian with his whip, curses 
him with his tongue ; the Milesian is holding out his 
hat to beg. He is the sorest evil this country has to 
strive with. In his rags and laughing savagery, he is 
there to undertake all work that can be done by mere 
strength of hand and back ; for wages that will pur- 
chase him potatoes. I He needs only salt for condi- 
ment ; he lodges t(fiiis mind in any pighutch or dog- 
hutch, roosts in outhouses ; and wears a suit of tatters, 
the getting ofi* and on of which is said to be a difficult 
operation, transacted only in festivals and the hightides 
of the calendar. The Saxon man if he cannot work 
. on these terms, finds no work. He too may be igno- 
rant; but he has not sunk from decent manhood to 
squalid apehood : he cannot continue there. Ameri- 
can forests lie untilled across the ocean ; the uncivilised 
Irishman, not by his strength but by the opposite of 
strength, drives out the Saxon native, takes posses- 
sion in his room. There abides he, in his squalor 
and unreason, in his falsity and drunken violence, as 
the ready-made nucleus of degradation and disorder. 


Whosoever struggles, swimmiDg with difficulty, may 
now find an example how the human being can exist 
not swimming but sunk. Let him sink ; he is not the 
worst of men ; not worse than this man. We have 
quarantines against pestilence ; but there is no pesti- 
lence like that ; and against it what quarantine is pos- 
sible ? It is lamentable to look upon. This soil of 
Britain, these Saxon men have cleared it, made it 
arable, fertile and a home for them ; they and their 
fathers have done that. Under the sky there exists 
• no force of men who with arms in their hands could 
drive them out of it ; all force of men with arms these 
Saxons would seize, in their grim way, and fling 
(Heaven's justice and their own Saxon humour aiding 
them) swiftly into the sea. But behold, a force of 
men armed only with rags, ignorance and nakedness ; 
and the Saxon owners, paralysed by invisible magic 
of paper formula, have to fly far, and hide themselves 
in Transatlantic forests. * Irish repeal T " Would to 
God," as Dutch William said, " You were King of 
Ireland, and could take yourself and it three thousand 
miles off," — there to repeal it I 

And yet these poor Celtiberian Irish brothers, what 
can they help it? They cannot stay at home, and 
starve. It is just and natural that they come hither as 
a curse to us. Alas, for them too it is not a luxury. 
It is not a straight or joyful way of avenging their sore 
wrongs this ; but a most sad circuitous one. Yet a way r 
it is, and an effectual way. The time has come when ^ 
the Irish population must either be improved a little, 
or else exterminated. Plausible management, adapted 
to this hollow outcry or to that, will no longer do ; it 


must be management grounded on sinceritr and fact, 
to which the truth of things will respond — by an actual 
beginning of improvement to these wretched brother- 
men. In a state of perennial ultra-savage famine, in 
the midst of civilisation, they cannot continue. For 
that the Saxon British will ever submit to sink along 
with them to such a state, we assume as impossible. 
There is in these latter, thank God, an ingenuity which 
is not false ; a methodic spirit, of insight, of perseverant 
well-doing; a rationality and veracity which Nature 
with her truth does not disown; — withal there is a 
* Berserkir-rage* in the heart of them, which will prefer 
all things, including destruction and self-destruction, 
to that. Let no man awaken It, this same Berserkir- 
rage! Deep-hidden it lies, far down in the centre, 
like genial central-fire, with stratum after stratum of 
arrangement, traditionary method, composed produc- 
tiveness, all built above it, vivified and rendei-ed fertile 
by it : justice, clearness, silence, perseverance, unhast- 
ing unresting diligence, hatred of disorder, hatred of 
injustice, which is the worst disorder, characterise this 
people; their inward fire we say, as all such fire 
should be, is hidden at the centre. Deep-hidden ; but 
awakcnable, but immeasurable; — let no man awaken it I 
With this strong silent people have the noisy vehement 
Irish now at length got common cause made. Ireland, 
now for the first time, in such strange circuitous way, 
does find itself embarked in the same boat with Eng- 
land, to sail together, or to sink together ; the wretch- 
edness of Ireland, slowly but inevitably, has crept over 
to us, and become our own wretchedness. The Irish 
population must get itself redressed and saved, for the 


sake of the English if for nothing else. Alas, that it 
should, on both sides, be poor toiling men that pay the 
smart for unruly Striguls, Henrys, Macdermots, and 
O'DonoghuesI The strong have eaten sour grapes, 
and the teeth of the weak are set on edge. ^ Curses,* 
says the Proverb, *are like chickens, they return al- 
ways Jiome* 

But now on the whole, it seems to us, English 
Statistic Science, with floods of the finest peasantry in 
the world streaming in on us daily, may fold up her 
Danaides reticulations on this matter of the Working 
Classes ; and conclude, what every man who will take 
the statistic spectacles off his nose, and look, may dis- 
cern in town or country : That the condition of the 
lower multitude of English labourers approximates 
more and more to that of the Irish competing with 
them in all markets ; that whatsoever labour, to which 
mere strength with little skill will suffice, is to be done, 
will be done not at the English price, but at an ap- 
proximation to the Irish price : at a price superior as 
yet to the Irish, that is, superior to scarcity of third- 
rate potatoes for thirty weeks yearly; superior, yet 
hourly, with the arrival of every new steamboat, sink- 
ing'^'nearer to ah equality with that. Half-a-million 
handloom weavers, working fifteen hours a-day, in per- 
petual inability to procure thereby enough of the 
coarsest food ; English farm-labourers at nine shillings 
and at seven shillings a week : Scotch farm-labourers 
who, * in districts the half of whose husbandry is that 
of cows, taste no milk, can procure no milk :' all these 
things are credible to us ; several of them are known 
to us by the best evidence, by eye-sight. With all this 



it is consistent that the wages of < skilled labour,' as it 
is called, should in many cases be higher than they 
ever were : the giant Steamengine in a giant English 
Nation will here create violent demand for labour, and 
will there annihilate demand. But, alas, the great por- 
tion of labour is not skilled : the millions are and must 
be skilless, where strength alone is wanted ; ploughers, 
delvers, borers ; hewers of wood and drawers of water ; 
meniab of the Steamengine, only the chief menials 
and immediate ^cxfy-servants of which require skill. 
English Commerce stretches its fibres over the whole 
earth ; sensitive literally, nay quivering in convulsion, 
to the farthest influences of the earth. The huge 
demon of Mechanism smokes and thunders, panting 
at his great task, in all sections of English land ; 
changing his ihape like a very Proteus ; and infallibly 
at every change of shape, oversetting whole multitudes 
of workmen, and as if with the waving of his shadow 
from afar, hurling them asunder, this way and that, in 
their crowded march and course of work or traffic ; 
so. that the wisest no longer knows his whereabout. 
With an. Ireland pouring daily in on us, in these cir- 
cumstances ; deluging us down to its own waste confu- 
sion, outward and inward, it seems a cruel mockery to 
tefl poor drudges that their condition is improving. 

NewPoor-LawI Laissez-faire^ laissez-passer ! The 
master of horses, when the summer labour is done, 
has to feed his horses through the winter. If he said 
to his horses : " Quadrupeds, I have no longer work 
for you ; but work exists abundantly over the world : 
are you ignorant (or must I read you Political-Eco- 
nomy Lectures) that the Steamengine always in the 



long-run creates additional work ? Railways are form- 
ing in one quarter of this earth, canals in another, 
much cartage is wanted ; somewhere in Europe, Asia, 
Africa or America, doubt it not, ye will find cartage : 
go and seek cartage, and good go with you I" They, 
with protrusive upper lip, snort dubious; signifying 
that Europe, Asia, Africa and America lie somewhat 
out of their beat ; that what cartage may be wanted 
there is not too well known to them. They can find 
no cartage. They gallop distracted along highways, 
all fenced in to the right and to the left: finally, 
under pains of hunger, they take to leaping fences ; 
eating foreign property, and — we know the rest, ^h, 
it is not a joyful mirth, it is sadder than tears, the 
laugh Humanity is forced to, at Laissez-faire applied 
to poor peasants, in a world like our Europe of the 
year ISSQI^;;) 

So much can observation altogether unstatistic, 
looking only at a Drogheda or Dublin steamboat, as- 
certain for itself. Another thing, likewise ascertain- 
able on this vast obscure matter, excites a superficial 
surprise, but only a superficial one : That it is the best- 
paid workmen who, by Strikes, Trades-unions, Chart- ) 
ism, and the like, complain the most. No doubt of it ! 
The best-paid workmen are they alone that can so com- 
plain! How shall he, the handloom weaver, who in 
the day that is passing over him has to find food for 
the day, strike work? If he strike work, he starves 
within the week. He is past complaint! — The fact 
itself, however, is one which, if we consider it, leads 
us into still deeper regions of the malady. Wages, it 
would appear, are no index of well-being to the work- 

c 2 


ing man : without proper wages there can be no well- 
being ; but with them also there may be none. Wages 
of working men diflfer greatly in diflferent quarters of 
this country ; according to the researches or the guess 
of Mr. Symmons, an intelligent humane inquirer, they 
vary in the ratio of not less than three to one. Cotton- 
spinners, as we learn, are generally well paid, while 
employed ; their wages, one week with another, wives 
and children all working, amount to sums which, if 
well laid out, were fully adequate to comfortable living. 
And yet, alas, there seems little question that comfort 
or reasonable well-being is as much a stranger in these 
households as in any. At the cold hearth of the ever- 
toiling ever-hungering weaver, dwelb at least some 
equability, fixation as if in perennial ice : hope never 
conies; but also irregular impatience is absent. Of 
outward things these others have or might have enough, 
but of all inward things there is the fatallest lack. 
Economy does not exist among them; their trade now 
in plethoric prosperity, anon extenuated into inanition 
and * short-time,* is of the nature of gambling ; they 
live by it like gamblers, now in luxurious superfluity, 
now in starvation. Black mutinous discontent devours 
them ; simply the miserablest feeling that can inhabit 
the heart of man. English Commerce with its world- 
wide convulsive fluctuations, with its immeasurable 
Proteus Steam-demon, makes all paths uncertain for 
them, all life a bewilderment : sobriety, steadfastness, 
peaceable continuance, the first blessings of man, are 
not theirs. 

It is in Glasgow among that class of operatives that 
* Number 60,* in his dark room, pays down the price 


of blood. Be it with reason or with unreason, too 
surely they do in verity find the time all out of joint ; 
this world for them no home, but a dingy prison- 
house, of reckless unthrift, rebellion, rancour, indig- 
nation against themselves and against all men. Is 
it a green flowery world, with azure everlasting sky 
stretched over it, the work and government of a God ; 
or a murky-simmering Tophet, of copperas-fumes, 
cotton-fuz, gin-riot, wrath and toil, created by a 
Demon, governed by a Demon? The sum of their 
wretchedness merited and unmerited welters, huge, 
dark and baleful, like a Dantean Hell, visible there 
in the statistics of Gin : Gin justly named the most 
authentic incarnation of the Infernal Principle in our 
times, too indisputable an incarnation ; Gin the black 
throat into which wretchedness of every sort, con- 
summating itself by calling on delirium to help it, 
whirls down ; abdication of the power to think or 
resolve, as too painful now, on the part of men whose 
lot of all others would require thought and resolution ; 
liquid Madness sold at ten-pence the quartern, all the 
products of which are and must be, like its origin, 
mad, miserable, ruinous, and that only I If from this 
black unluminous unheeded Inferno^ and Prisonhouse 
of souls in pain, there do flash up from time to time, 
some dismal wide-spread glare of Chartism or the like, 
notable to all, claiming remedy from all, — are we to 
regard it as more baleful than the quiet state, or 
rather as not so baleful ? Ireland is in chronic atrophy 
these five centuries; the disease of nobler England, 
identified now with that of Ireland, becomes acute, has 
crises, and will be cured or kill. 




It is not what a man outwardly has or wants that 
constitutes the happiness or misery of him. Naked- 
ness, hunger, distress of all kinds, death itself have 
been cheerfully sufltered, when the heart was right. It 
is the feeling of injustice that is insupportable to all 
men. The brutallest black African cannot bear that 
he should be used unjustly. No man can bear it, or 
ought to bear it. A deeper law than any parchment- 
law whatsoever, a law written direct by the hand of 
God in the inmost being of man, incessantly protests 
against it. What is injustice ? Another name for 
^uorder, for unveracity, unreality ; a thing which 
veracious created Nature, even because it is not Chaos 
and a waste-whirling baseless Phantasm, rejects and 
disowns. It is not the outward pain of injustice ; 
that, were it even the flaying of the back with knotted 
scourges, the severing of the head with guillotines, is 
comparatively a small matter. The real smart is the 
BOuFs pain and stigma, the hurt inflicted on the moral 
self. The rudest clown must draw himself up into 
attitude of battle, and resistance to the death, if such 
be offered him. He cannot live under it; his own 
soul aloud, and all the universe with silent continual 
beckonings, says. It cannot be. He must revenge 
himself; revancher himself, make himself good again, — 
that so meum may be mine, tuum thine, and each party 


standing clear on his own basis, order be restored. 
There is something infinitely respectable in this, and 
we may say universally respected; it is the common 
stamp of manhood vindicating itself in all of us, the 
basis of whatever is worthy in all of us, and through 
superficial diversities, the same in all. 

As eft^order, insane by the nature of it, is the 
hatefullest of things to man, who lives by sanity and 
order, so injustice is the worst evil, some call it the 
only evil, in this world. All men submit to toil, to 
disappointment, to unhappiness; it is their lot here; 
but in all hearts, inextinguishable by sceptic logic, by 
sorrow, perversion or despair itself, there is a small 
still voice intimating that it is not the final lot ; that 
wild, waste, incoherent as it looks, a God presides over 
it ; that it is not an injustice but a justice. Force 
itself, the hopelessness of resistance, has doubtless a 
composing effect ; — against inanimate Simoomsy and 
much other infliction of the like sort, we have found 
it sufiSce to produce complete composure. Yet, one 
would say, a permanent Injustice even from an Infinite 
Power would prove unendurable by men. If men had 
lost belief in a God, their only resource against a blind 
No-God, of Necessity and Mechanism, that held them 
like a hideous World- Steamengine, like a hideous Pha- 
laris' Bull, imprisoned in its own iron belly, would be, 
with or without hope, — revolt. They could, as Novalis 
8^y8> hj a * simultaneous universal act of suicide,* de- 
part out of the World-Steamengine ; and end, if not 
in victory, yet in invincibility, and unsubduable pro- 
test that such World-Steamengine was a failure and 
a stupidity. 


Conquest, indeed, is a fact often witnessed ; con- 
quest, which seems mere wrong and force, everywhere 
asserts itself as a right among men. Yet if we exa- 
mine, we shall find that, in this world, no conquest 
could ever become permanent, which did not withal 
shew itself beneficial to the conquered as well as to 
conquerors. Mithridates King of Pontus, come now 
to extremity, 'appealed to the patriotism of his peo- 
ple;' but, says the history, *he had squeezed them, 
and fleeced and plundered them, for long years ;* his 
requisitions, flying irregular, devastative, like the 
whirlwind, were less supportable than Roman strict- 
ness and method, regular though never so rigorous : 
he therefore appealed to their patriotism in vain. The 
Romans conquered Mithridates. The Romans, having 
conquered the world, held it conquered, because they 
could best govern the world ; the mass of men found 
it nowise pressing to revolt ; their fancy might be 
afllicted more or less, but in their solid interests they 
were better off* than before. So too in this England 
long ago, the old Saxon Nobles, disunited among 
themselves, and in power too nearly equal, could not 
have governed the country well ; Harold being slain, 
their last chance of governing it, except in anarchy 
and civil war, was over : a new class of strong Norman 
Nobles, entering with a strong man, with a succession 
of strong men at the head of them, and not disunited, 
but united by many ties, by their very community of 
language and interest, had there been no other, were 
in a condition to govern it ; and did govern it, we can 
believe, in some rather tolerable manner, or they would 
not have continued there. They acted, little conscious 


of such function on their part, as an immense volunteer 
Police Force, stationed everywhere, united, disciplined, 
feudally regimented, ready for action ; strong Teutonic 
men ; who on the whole proved effective men, and ^ 
drilled this wild Teutonic people into unity and peace- 
able co-operation better than others could have done ! 
How can-do, if we will well interpret it, unites itself 
with shall-do among mortals ; how strength acts ever 
as the right-arm of justice; how might and right, so 
frightfully discrepant at first, are ever in the long-run ^ 
one and the same, — is a cheering consideration, which * 
always in the black tempestuous vortices of this world's 
history, will shine out on us, like an everlasting polar 

Of conquest we may say that it never yet went by " 
brute force and compulsion; conquest of that kind 
does not endure. Conquest, along with power 
compulsion, an essential universally in human soci 
must bring benefit along with it, or men, of the ordi- 
nary strength of men, will fling it out. The strong 
man, what is he if we will consider ? The wise man ; 
the man with the gift of method, of faithfulness and 
valour, all of which are of the basis of wisdom ; who 
has insight into what is what, into what will follow 
out of what, the eye to see and the hand to do ; who is 
jfit to administer, to direct, and guidingly command : 
he is the strong man. His muscles and bones are no 
stronger than ours ; but his soul is stronger, his soul 
is wiser, clearer, — is better and nobler, for that is, has 
been, and ever will be the root of all clearness worthy 
of such a name. Beautiful it is, and a gleam from 
the same eternal pole-star visible amid the destinies of 

ir of / 
;iety, / 

1 • 


men, that all talent, all intellect is in the first place 
moral ; — what a world were this otherwise I But it is 
the heart always that sees, before the head can see : 
let us know that ; and know therefore that the Good 
alone is deathless and victorious, that Hope is sure 
and steadfast, in all phases of this ' Place of Hope.' — 
Shiftiness, quirk, attorney-cunning is a kind of thing 
that fancies itself, and is often fancied, to be talent; 
but it is luckily mistaken in that. Succeed truly it 
does, what is called succeeding ; and even must in 
general succeed, if the dispensers of success be of due 
stupidity : men of due stupidity will needs say to it, 
" Thou art wisdom, rule thou !" Whereupon it rules. 
But Nature answers, " No, this ruling of thine is not 
according to mi/ laws; thy wisdom was not wise 
enough I Dost thou take me too for a Quackery ? 
For a Conventionality and Attorneyism ? This chaff 
that thou sowest into my bosom, though it pass at the 
poll-booth and elsewhere for seed-corn, /will not grow 
wheat out of it, for it is chaff I" 

But to return. Injustice, infidelity to truth and 
fact and Nature's order, being properly the one evil 
under the sun, and the feeling of injustice the one in- 
tolerable pain under the sun, our grand question ais to 
the condition of these working men would be: Is it 
just ? And first of all. What belief have they them- 
selves formed about the justice of it ? The words 
they promulgate are notable by way of answer ; their 
actions are still more notable. Chartism with its 
pikes. Swing with his tinder-box, speak a most loud 
though inarticulate language. Glasgow Thuggery 
speaks aloud too, in a language we may well call in- 


fernal. What kind of * wild-justice' must it be in the 
hearts of these men that prompts them, with cold deli- 
beration, in conclave assembled, to doom their brother 
workman, as the deserter of his orderjand his order's 
cause, to die as a traitor and deserter ; and have him 
executed, since not by any public judge and hangman, 
then by a private one ; — like your old Chivalry Fern- 
gericht, and Secret-Tribunal, suddenly in this strange 
guise become new ; suddenly rising once more on the 
astonished eye, dressed now not in mail-shirts but in 
fustian jackets, meeting not in Westphalian forests but 
in the paved Gallowgate of Glasgow I Not loyal loving 
obedience to those placed over them, but a far other 
temper, must animate these men I It is frightful 
enough. Such temper must be wide-spread, virulent 
among the many, when even in its worst acme, it can 
take such a form in a few. But indeed decay of 
loyalty in all senses, disobedience, decay of religious 
faith, has long been noticeable and lamentable in this 
largest class, as in other smaller ones. Revolt, sullen 
revengeful humour of revolt against the upper classes, 
decreasing respect for what their temporal superiors 
command, decreasing faith for what their spiritual 
superiors teach, is more and more the universal spirit 
of the lower classes. Such spirit may be blamed, may 
be vindicated ; but all men must recognise it as extant 
there, all may know that it is mournful, that unless 
altered it will be fatal. Of lower classes so related to 
upper, happy nations are not made I To whatever 
other griefs the lower classes labour under, this bit- 
terest and sorest grief now superadds itself: the un- 
endurable conviction that they are unfairly dealt with. 


that their lot in this world is not founded on right, 
not even on necessity and might, is neither what it 
, should be, nor what it shall be. 

Or why do we ask of Chartism, Glasgow Trades- 
unions, and such like ? Has not broad Europe heard 
the question put, and answered, on the great scale ; 
has not a French Revolution been ? Since the year 
1789, there is now half-a-century complete; and a 
French Revolution not yet complete I Whosoever 
will look at that enormous Phenomenon may find 
many meanings in it, but this meaning as the ground 
of all: That it was a revolt of the oppressed lower 
classes against the oppressing or neglecting upper 
classes : not a French revolt only ; no, a European 
one ; full of stem monition to all countries of Europe. 
These Chartisms, Radicalisms, Reform Bill, Tithe Bill, 
and infinite other discrepancy, and acrid argument 
and jargon that there is yet to be, are our French 
Revolution :' God grant that we, with our better 
methods, may be able to transact it by argument 
alone I 

The French Revolution, now that we .have suf- 
ficiently execrated its horrors and crimes, is found to 
have had withal a great meaning in it. As indeed, 
what great thing ever happened in this world, a world 
understood always to be made and governed by a 
Providence and Wisdom, not by an Unwisdom, with- 
out meaning somewhat? It was a tolerably audible 
voice of proclamation, and universal oi/ez f to all 
people, this of three-and-twenty years' close fighting, 
sieging, conflagrating, with a million or two of men 
shot dead : the world ought to know by this time that 


it was verily meant in earnest, that same Phenomenon, 
and had its own reasons for appearing there I Which 
accordingly the world begins now to do. The French 
Revolution is seen, or begins everywhere to be seen, 

* as the crowning phenomenon of our Modern Time ;' 

* the inevitable stern end of much ; the fearful, but 
also wonderful, indispensable and sternly beneficent 
beginning of much.' He who would understand the 
struggling convulsive unrest of European society, in 
any and every country, at this day, may read it in 
broad glaring lines there, in that the most convulsive 
phenomenon of the last thousand years. Europe lay 
pining, obstructed, moribund; quack-ridden, hag-rid- 
den, — ^is there a hag, or spectre of the Pit, so baleful, 
hideous as your accredited quack, were he never so 
close -shaven, mild -spoken, plausible to himself and 
others ? Quack-ridden : in that one word lies all mi- 
sery whatsoever. Speciosity in all departments usurps 
the place of reality, thrusts reality away ; instead 
of performance, there is appearance of performance. 
The quack is a Falsehood Incarnate ; and speaks, 
and makes and does mere falsehoods, which Nature 
with her veracity has to disown. As chief priest, as 
chief governor, he stands there, intrusted with much. 
The husbandman of 'Time's Seedfield;' he is the 
world's hir^d sower, hired and solemnly appointed to 
sow the kind true earth with wheat this year, that next 
year all men may have bread. He, miserable mortal, 
deceiving and self-deceiving, sows it, as we said, not 
with com but with chaff; the world nothing doubting, 
barrows it in, pays him his wages, dismisses him with 
blessing, and — next year there has no com sprung. 



Nature has disowned the chaff, declined growing chaff, 
and behold now there is no bread I It becomes neces- 
sary, in such case, to do several things ; not sof% things 
some of them, but hard. 

Nay we will add that the very circumstance of 
quacks in unusual quantity getting domination, indi- 
cates that the heart of the world is already wrong. 
The impostor is false ; but neither are his dupes alto- 
gether true : is not his first grand dupe the falsest of 
all, — himself namely ? Sincere men, of never so 
limited intellect, have an instinct for discriminating 
sincerity. The cunningest Mephistopheles cannot de- 
ceive a simple Margaret of honest heart ; * it stands 
written on his brow.* Masses of people capable of 
being led away by quacks are themselves of partially 
untrue spirit. Alas, in such times it grows to be the 
universal belief, sole accredited knowingness, and the 
contrary of it accounted puerile enthusiasm, this sor- 
rowfullest disheXiei that there is properly speaking any 
truth in the world ; that the world was, has been, or 
ever can be guided, except by simulation, dissimula- 
tion, and the sufficiently dexterous practice of pre- 
tence. The faith of men is dead : in what has guineas 
in its pocket, beefeaters riding behind it, and cannons 
trundling before it, they can believe ; in what has none 
of these things they cannot believe. Sense for the 
true and false is lost ; there is properly no longer any 
true or false. It is the heyday of Imposture ; of Sem- 
blance recognising itself, and getting itself recog- 
Inised, for Substance. Gaping multitudes listen; un- 
listening multitudes see not but that it is all right, and 
in the order of Nature. Earnest men, one of a mil- 


lion, shut their lips ; suppressing thoughts, which there 
are no words to utter. To them it is too visible that 
spiritual life has departed ; that material life, in what- 
soever figure of it, cannot long remain behind. To 
them it seems as if our Europe of the Eighteenth 
Century, long hag-ridden, vexed with foul enchanters, 
to the length now of gorgeous Domdaniel Parcs-aux- 
cerfs and ' Peasants living on meal-husks and boiled 
grass,' had verily sunk down to die and dissolve ; and 
were now, with its French Philosophisms, Hume Scep- 
ticisms, Diderot Atheisms, maundering in the final 
deliration ; writhing, with its Seven-years Silesian 
robber-wars, in the final agony. Glory to God, our 
Europe was not to die but to live I Our Europe rose 
like a frenzied giant; shook ail that poisonous ma- 
gician trumpery to right and left, trampling it storm- 
fully under foot; and declared aloud that there was 
strength in him, not for life only, but for new and 
infinitely wider life. Antaeus-like the giant had struck 
hb foot once more upon Reality and the Earth ; there 
only, if in this universe at all, lay strength and healing 
for him. Heaven knows, it was not a gentle process ; 
no wonder that it was a fearful process, this same 
' Phoenix fire-consummation I* But the alternative 
was it or death ; the merciful Heavens, merciful in 
their severity, sent us it rather. 

And so the 'rights of man* were to be written 
down on paper; and experimentally wrought upon 
towards elaboration, in huge battle and wrestle, ele- 
ment conflicting with element, from side to side of this 
earth, for three-and-twenty years. Rights of man, 
wrongs of man? It is a question which has swal- 


lowed whole nations and generations ; a question — on 
which we will not enter here. Far be it from us I 
Logic has small business with this question at present ; 
logic has no plummet that will sound it at any time. 
But indeed the rights of man, as has been not unaptly 
remarked, are little worth ascertaining in comparison 
to the mights of man, — to what portion of his rights 
he has any chance of being able to make good I The 
accurate final rights of man lie in the far deeps of the 
Ideal, where * the Ideal weds itself to the Possible,' 
as the Philosophers say. The ascertainable temporary 
rights of man vary not a little, according to place and 
time. They are known to depend much on what a 
man's convictions of them are. The Highland wife, 
with her husbapd at the foot of the gallows, patted him 
on the shoulder (if there be historical truth in Joseph 
Miller), and said amid her tears : ** Go up, Donald, my 
man ; the Laird bids ye." To her it seemed the rights 
of lairds were great, the rights of men small ; and she 
acquiesced. Deputy Lapoule, in the Salle des Menus 
at Versailles, on the 4th of August, 1789, demanded 
(he did actually 'demand,* and by unanimous vote 
obtain) that the * obsolete law* authorizing a Seig- 
neur, on his return from the chase or other needful 
fatigue, to slaughter not above two of his vassals, and 
refresh his feet in their warm blood and bowels, should 
be * abrogated.* From such obsolete law, or mad tra- 
dition and phantasm of an obsolete law, down to any 
corn-law, game-law, rotten-borough law, or other law 
or practice clamoured of in this time of ours, the dis- 
tance travelled over is great ! — What are the rights of 
men ? All men are justified in demanding and search- 


ing for their rights; moreover, justified or not, they 
will do it : by Chartisms, Radicalisms, French Revo- 
lutions, or whatsoever methods they have. Rights 
surely are right : on the other hand, this other saying 
is most true, * Use every man according to his rights^ 
and who shall escape whipping I* These two things, 
we say, are both true ; and both are essential to make 
up the whole truth. All good men know always and 
feel, each for himself, that the one is not less true than 
the other ; and act accordingly. The contradiction is 
of the surface only ; as in opposite sides of the same 
fact : universal in this dualism of a life we have. 
Between these two extremes. Society and all human 
things must fluctuatingly adjust themselves the best 
they can. 

r And yet that there is verily a * rights of man' let 
no mortal doubt. An ideal of right does dwell in all 
men, in all arrangements, pactions and procedures of 
men : it is to this ideal of right, more and more de- 
veloping itself as it is more and more approximated to, 
/ that human Society for ever tends and struggles. We 
say also that any given thing either is unjust or else 
just; however obscure the arguings and strugglings on it 
be, the thing in itself there as it lies, infallibly enough, 
is the one or the other. To which let us add only 
this, the first, last article of faith, the alpha and omega 

I of all faith among men, That nothing which is unjust 
can hope to continue in this world. A faith true in 
all times, more or less forgotten in most, but altogether 
frightfully brought to remembrance again in ours I 
Lyons fusilladings, Nantes noyadings, reigns of terror, 
and such other universal battle-thunder and explosion ; 


these, if we will understand them, were but a new irre- 
fragable preaching abroad of that. It would appear 
that Speeiosities which are not Realities cannot any 
longer inhabit this world. It would appear that the 
unjust thing has no friend in the Heaven, and a ma- 
jority against it on the Earth ; nay that it has at bottom 
all men for its enemies ; that it may take shelter in 
this fallacy and then in that, but will be hunted from 
fallacy to fallacy till it find no fallacy to shelter in any 
more, but must march and go elsewhither ; — ^that, in a 
word, it ought to prepare incessantly for decent depar- 
ture, before twdecent departure, ignominious drunmiing 
out, nay savage smiting out and burning out, overtake 
it ! Alas, was that such new tidings ? Is it not from 
of old indubitable, that Untruth, Injustice which is buf 
acted untruth, has no power to continue in this true 
universe of ours ? The tidings was world-old, or older, 
as old as the Fall of Lucifer : and yet in that epoch 
unhappily it was new tidings, unexpected, incredible ; 
and there had to be such earthquakes and shakings of 
the nations befoi e it could be listened to, and laid to 
heart even slightly I Let us lay it to heart, let us know 
it well, that new shakings be not needed. Known and 
laid to heart it must everywhere be, before peace can 
pretend to come. This seems to us the secret of our 
convulsed era ; this which is so easily written, which 
is and has been and will be so hard to bring to pass. 
All true men, high and low, each in his sphere, are 
consciously or unconsciously bringing it to pass ; all 
false and half-true men are fruitlessly spending them- 
selves to hinder it from coming to pass. 





From all which enormous events, with truths old and 
new embodied in them, what innumerable practical in- 
ferences are to be drawn I Events are written lessons, 
glaring in huge hieroglyphic picture-writing, that all 
may read and know them : the terror and horror they 
inspire is but the note of preparation for the truth they 
are to teach ; a mere waste of terror if that be not 
learned. Inferences enough ; most didactic, practically 
applicable in all departments of English things ! (Dne 
inference, but one inclusive of all, shall content us 
here ; this namely : That Laissez-faire has as good as 
done its part in a great many provinces ; that in the 
province of the Working Classes, Laissez-faire having 
passed its New Poor-Law, has reached the suicidal 
"^ point, and now, qs felo-de-se, lies dying there, in torch- 
light meetings and such like; that, in brief, a govern- 
ment of the jinder classes by the upper on a principle 
o^ Let alone is no longer possible in England in these 1 
days. This is the one inference inclusive of all. For * 
there can be no acting or doing of any kind, till it be 
recognised that there is a thing to be done ; the thing 
once recognised^ doing in a thousand shapes becomes 
possible. The Working Classes cannot any longer go 
on without government ; without being actually guided 
and governed ; England cannot subsist in peace till, by 



some means or other, some guidance and government 
for them is found. 

For, alas, on us too the rude truth has come home. 
Wrappages and speciosities all worn off, the haggard 
naked fact speaks to us: Are these millions taught? 
Are these millions guided ? We have a Church, the 
venerable embodiment of an idea which may well call 
itself divine ; which our fathers for long ages, feeling it 
to be divine, have been embodying as we see : it is a 
Church well furnished with equipments and appurte- 
nances ; educated in universities ; rich in money ; set 
on high places that it may be conspicuous to all, ho- 
noured of all. We have an Aristocracy of landed wealth 
and conamercial wealth, in whose hands lies the law- 
making and the law-administering; an Aristocracy 
rich, powerful, long secure in its place; an Aristo- 
cracy with more faculty put free into its hands than 
was ever before, in any country or time, put into the 
hands of any class of men. This Church answers: 
Yes, the people are taught. This Aristocracy, astonish- 
ment in every feature, answers: Yes, surely the people 
are guided I Do we not pass what Acts of Parliament 
are needful ;» as many as thirty-nine for the shooting 
of the partridges alone ? Are there not tread-mills, 
gibbets; even hospitals, poor-rates. New Poor-Law? 
So answers Church ; so answers Aristocracy, astonish- 
ment in every feature. — Fact, in the meanwhile, takes 
his lucifer-box, sets fire to wheat-stacks ; sheds an aJl- 
too dismal light on several things. Fact searches for 
his third-rate potatoe, not in the meekest humour, six- 
and-thirty weeks each year ; and does not find it. Fact 
passionately joins Messiah Thom of Canterbury, and 


has himself shot for a new fifth-monarchy brought in 
by Bedlam. Fact holds his fustian-jacket Femgericht 
in Glasgow City. Fact carts his Petition over London 
streets, begging that you would simply have -the good- 
ness to grant him universal suffrage, and ' the five 
points,* by way of remedy. These are not symptoms of 
teaching and guiding. 

Nay, at bottom, is it not a singular thing this of 
Laissez-faire, from the first origin of it ? As good as 
an abdication on the part of governors ; an admission 
that they are henceforth incompetent to govern, that 
they are not there to govern at all, but to do — one 
knows not what I The universal demand of Laissez- 
faire by a people from its governors or upper classes, 
is a soft-sounding demand ; but it is only one step 
removed from the fatallest. * Laissez-faire,* exclaims a 
sardonic German writer, * What is this universal cry 
for Laissez-faire ? Does it mean that human affairs 
require no guidance ; that wi^^om and forethought 
cannot guide them better than folly and accident? 
Alas, does it not mean : " Such guidance is worse than 
none ! Leave us alone of your guidance ; eat your 
wages, and sleep I" * And now if guidance have grown 
indispensable, and the sleep continue, what becomes of 
the sleep and its wages ? — In those entirely surprising 
circumstances to which the Eighteenth Century had 
brought us, in the time of Adam Smith, Laissez-faire 
was a reasonable cry ; — as indeed, in all circumstances, 
for a wise governor there will be meaning in the prin- 
ciple of it. To wise governors you will cry : " See 
what you will, and will not, let alone." To unwise 
governors, to hungry Greeks throttling down hungry 



Greeks on the floor of a St. Stephens, you will cry : 
" Let all things alone ; for Heaven's sake, meddle ye 
with nothing I" How Laissez-faire may adjust itself in 
other provinces we say not : but we do venture to say, 
and ask whether events everywhere, in world-history and 
parish-history, in all manner of dialects are not saying 
it, That in regard to the lower orders of society, and 
their governance and guidance, the principle of Laissez- 
faire has terminated, and is no longer applicable at 
all, in this Europe of ours, still less in this England 
of ours. Not misgovernment, nor yet no-government ; 
only government will now serve. What is the mean- 
ing of the * five points,' if we will understand them? 
What are all popular commotions and maddest bel- 
lo wings, from Peterloo to the Place-de-Greve itself? 
Bellowings, marticulate cries as of a dumb creature in 
rage and pain ; to the ear of wisdom they are inar- 
ticulate prayers : " Guide me, govern me I I am mad, 
and miserable, and cannot guide myself I" Surely ot 
all * rights of man,' this right of the ignorant man to be 
guided by the wiser, to be, gently or forcibly, held in 
the true course by him, is the indisputablest. Nature 
herself ordains it from the first ; Society struggles to- 
wards perfection by enforcing and accomplishing it 
more and more. If Freedom have any meaning, it 
means enjoyment of this right, wherein all other rights 
are enjoyed. It is a sacred right and duty, on both 
sides ; and the summary of all social duties whatsoever 
between the two. Why does the one toil with his 
hands, if the other be not to toil, still more un- 
weariedly, with heart and head ? The brawny crafts- 
man finds it no child's play to mould his unpliant 


rugged masses; neither is guidance of men a dilet- 
tantism : what it becomes when treated as a dilettant- 
ism, we may see I The wild horse bounds homeless 
through the wilderness, is not led to stall and manger ; 
but neither does he toil for you, but for himself only. 

Deinoclracy, we are well aware, what is called 
* self-government' of the multitude by the multitude, 
is in words the thing everywhere passionately cla- 
moured for at present. Democracy makes rapid pro- 
gress in these latter times, and ever more rapid, in 
a perilous accelerative ratio ; towards democracy, and 
that only, the progress of things is everywhere tending 
as to the final goal and winning-post. So think, so 
clamour the multitudes everywhere, ^nd yet all men 
may see, whose sight is good for much, that in de- 
mocracy can lie no finality ; that with the completest 
winning of democracy there is nothing yet won, — 
except emptiness, and the free chance to win I De- 
mocrac y is, by the nature of it, a self-cancelling b usi- 
ness; and gives in the long-run a net-result o£ zero.^ 
Where no government is wanted, save that of the 
parish-constable, as in America with its boundless soil, 
every man being able to find work and recompense for 
himself, democracy may subsist; not elsewhere, ex- 
cept briefly, as a swift transition towards something 
other and farther. Democracy never yet, that we 
heard of, was able to accomplish much work, beyond 
that same cancelling of itself. Rome and Athens are 
themes for the schools ; unexceptionable for that pur- 
pose. In Rome and Athens, as elsewhere, if we look 
practically, we shall find that it was not by loud voting 
and debating of many, but by wise insight and order- 


ing of a few that the work was done. So is it ever, so 
will it ever be. The French Convention was a Par- 
liament elected * by the five points/ with ballot-boxes, 
universal suffrages, and what not, as perfectly as Par- 
liament can hope to be in this world ; and had indeed 
a pretty spell of work to do, and did it. The French 
Con^ntion had to cease from being a free Parliament, 
and become more arbitrary than any Sultan Bajazet, 
before it could so much as subsist. It had to purge 
out its argumentative Girondins, elect its Supreme 
Committee of Salut, guillotine into silence and ex- 
tinction all that gainsayed it, and rule and work lite- 
rally by the sternest despotism ever seen in Europe, 
before it could rule at all. Napoleon was not presi- 
dent of a republic ; Cromwell tried hard to rule in 
that way, but found that he could not. These, * the 
armed soldiers of democracy,* had to chain democracy 
under their feet, and become despots over it, before 
they could work out the earnest obscure purpose of 
democracy itself I Democracy, take it where you will 
in our Europe, is found but as a regulated method of 
rebellion and abrogation; it abrogates the old ar- 
rangement of things ; and leaves, as we say, zero and 
vacuity for the institution of a new arrangement. It 
is the consummation of N o-go vernment and LaissS ^ 
faired It may be natural for our Europe at present ; 
but cannot be the ultimatum of it. Not towards the 
impossibility, * self-government' of a multitude by a 
multitude; but towards some possibility, government 
by the wisest, does bewildered Europe struggle. The 
blessedest possibility : not misgovernment, not Laissez- 
faircy but veritable government I Cannot one discern 



too, across all democratic turbulence, clattering of 
ballot-boxes and infinite sorrowful jangle, needful or 
not, that this at bottom is the wish and prayer of all 
human hearts, everywhere and at all times: '*<fiive 
me a leader ; a true leader, not a false sham-leader ; a 
tfue leader, tnat lie may guide me on the true way, 
that I may be loyal to him, that I may swear fealty to j 
him and follow him, and feel that it is well with me !" 
The relation of the taught to their teacher, of the ' * 
loyal subject to his guiding king, is, under one shape 
or another, the vital element of human Society ; in- 
dispensable to it, perennial in it; without which, as 
a body reft of its soul, it falls down into death, 
and with horrid noisome dissolution passes away and 

But verily in these times, with their new stern 
Evangel, that Speciosities which are not Realities can 
no longer be, all Aristocracies, Priesthoods, Persons 
in Authority, are called upon to consider. What is 
an Aristocracy ? A corporation of the Best, of 
the Bravest. To this joyfully, with heart-loyalty, do 
men pay the half of their substance, to equip and 
decorate their Best, to lodge them in palaces, set 
them high over all. For it is of the nature of men, in |A 
every time, to honour and love their Best ; to know no 
limits in honouring them. Whatsoever Aristocracy is 
still a corporation of the Best, is safe from all peril, and 
the land it rules is a safe and blessed land. Whatso- 
ever Aristocracy does not even attempt to be that, but 
only to wear the clothes of that, is not safe ; neither is 
the land it rules in safe ! For this now is our sad lot, 

■ U> 


thatwe must find a real Aristocr acy, that an apparent 
Aristocracy, how plausible soever, has become inade- 
quateToFus. One way or other, the world will abso- 
lutely need to be governed ; if not by this class of men, 
then by that. One can predict, without gift of pro- 
phecy, that the era of routine is nearly ended. Wisdom 
and faculty alone, faithful, valiant, ever-zealous, not 
pleasant but painful, continual effort, will suffice. Cost 
what it may, by one means or another, the toiling mul- 
titudes of this perplexed, over-crowded Europe, must 
and will find governors. * Laissez-faire^ Leave them 
to do ?' The thing they will do, if so left, is too 
frightful to think of I It has been done once, in sight 
of the whole earth, in these generations : can it need to 
be done a second time ? 

For a Priesthood, in like manner, whatsoever its 
titles, possessions, professions, there is but one question: 
Does it teach and spiritually guide this people, yea or 
no ? If yea, then is all well. But if no, then let it 
strive earnestly to alter, for as yet there is nothing 
well I Nothing, we say: and indeed is not this that 
we call spiritual guidance properly the soul of the 
whole, the life and eyesight of the whole ? The world 
asks of its Church in these times, more passionately 
than of any other Institution any question, '' Canst 
thou teach us or not ? " — A Priesthood in France, when 
the world asked, " What canst thou do for us ?" an- 
swered only, aloud and ever louder, " Are we not of 
God ? Invested with all power ?" — till at length Franei 
"cut short this controversy too, in what frightful wa* 
we know. To all men who believed in the Church, t 
all men who believed in God and the soul of man, the 


was no issue of the French Revolution half so sorrowful 
as that. France cast out its benighted blind Priesthood 
into destruction ; yet with what a loss to France also ! 
A solution of continuity, what we may well call such ; 
and this where continuity is so momentous : the New, 
whatever it may be, cannot now grow out of the Old, 
but is severed sheer asunder from the Old, — how much 
lies wasted in that gap I That one whole generation 
of thinkers should be without a religion to believe, 
or even to contradict ; that Christianity, in thinking 
France, should as it were fade away so long into a 
remote, extraneous tradition, was one of the saddest 
facts connected with the future of that country. Look 
at such Political and Moral Philosophies, St.-Simonisms, 
Robert-Macairisms, and the * Literature of Desperation' ! 
Kingship was perhaps but a cheap waste, compared with 
this of the Priestship ; under which France still, all but 
unconsciously, labours ; and may long labour, remedi- 
less the while. Let others consider it, and take warning 
by it ! France is a pregnant example in all ways. 
Aristocraci es that do not govern. Priesthoods that do 
not teach ; th e misery of that, and the misery of alter- 
ing that, — are written in Belshazzar fire-letters on The 
history of France. 

Or does the British reader, safe in the assurance 
that * England is not France,* call all this unpleasant 
doctrine of ours ideology, perfectibility, and a vacant 
dream ? Does the British reader, resting on the faith 
that what has been these two generations was from the 
beginning, and will be to the end, assert to himself that 
things are already as they can be, as they must be ; 
that on the whole, no Upper Classes did ever * govern * 

D 2 



the Lower, in this sense of governing? Believe it not, 
O British reader I Man is man everywhere ; dislikes 
to have * sensible species' and * ghosts of defunct 
bodies' foisted on him, in England even as in France. 
How much the Upper Classes did actually, in any the 
most perfect Feudal time, return to the Under by way 
of recompense, in government, guidance, protection, 
we will not undertake to specify here. In Charity- 
Balls, Soup-Kitchens, in Quarter- Sessions, Prison-Dis- 
cipline and Treadmills, we can well believe the old 
Feudal Aristocracy not to have surpassed the new. 
Yet we do say that the old Aristocracy were the 
governors of the Lower Classes, the guides of the 
Lower Classes ; and even, at bottom, that they existed 
as an Aristocracy because they were found adequate 
for that. Not by Charity -Balls and Soup-Kitchens ; 
not so; far otherwise! But it was their happiness 
that, in struggling for their own objects, they had to 
govern the Lower Classes^ even m this sense oi^govem- 
ing^ For, in one wor3rt7iwA Puyvtient had not then 
grown to'^be the universal sole nexus of man to man ; 
it was something other than money that the high then 
expected from the low, and could not live without get- 
ting from the* low. Not as buyer and seller alone, of 
land or what else it might be, but in many senses still 
as soldier and captain, as clansman and head, as loyal 
subject and guiding king, was the low related to the 
high. Wi th |the supr eme triumph of Cash, a changed 
ti me h as entered; the re must a changed Aristocrac y 
enten We ipvite tne British reader to meditate ear- 
nestly on these things. 

Another thing, which the Bntish rea3er often reads 



and hears in this time, is worth his meditating for a 
moment: That Society 'exists for the protection of 
property.' To which it is added, that the poor man 
also has property, namely, his * labour,' and the fifteen- 
pence or three-and-sixpence a-day he can get for that. 
True enough, O friends, * for protecting property ;' 
most true : and indeed if you will once sufficiently en- 
force that Eighth Commandment, the whole * rights of 
man' are well cared for; I know no better definition 
of the rights of man. Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt 
not be stolen from : what a Society were that ; Plato's 
Republic, More's Utopia mere emblems of it I Give 
every man what is his, the accurate price of what he 
has done and been, no man shall any more complain, 
neither shall the earth suffer any more. For the pro- 
tection of property, in very truth, and for that alone I 
— And now what is thy property ? That parchment 
title-deed, that purse thou buttonest in thy breeches- 
pocket ? Is that thy Valuable property ? Unhappy 
brother, most poor insolvent brother, I without parch- 
ment at all, with purse oftenest in the flaccid state, 
imponderous, which will not fling against the wind, 
have quite other property than that I I have the 
miraculous breath of Life in me, breathed into my 
nostrils by Almighty God, I have affections, thoughts, 
a god-given capability to be and do ; rights, there- 
fore, — the right for instance to thy love if I love thee, 
tO'. thy guidance if I obey thee : the strangest rights, 
whereof in church-pulpits one still hears something, 
though almost unintelligible now; rights, stretching 
high into Immensity, far into Eternity I Fifteen-pence 
a-day ; three-and-sixpence a-day ; eight hundred pounds 


and odd a-day, dost thou call that my property ? 
I value that little; little all I could purchase with 
that. For truly, as is said, what matters it ? In torn 
boots, in soflt-hung carriages-and-four, a man gets al- 
ways to his journey's end. Socrates walked barefoot, 
or in wooden shoes, and yet arrived happily. They 
never asked him. What shoes or conveyance ? never. 
What wages hadst thou ? but simply. What work didst 
thou ? — Property, O brother ? * Of my very body I 
have but a life-rent.' As for this flaccid purse of 
mine, 'tis something, nothing; has been the slave of 
pickpockets, cutthroats, Jew-brokers, gold-dust-robbers; 
'twas his, 'tis mine ; — 'tis thine, if thou care much to 
steal it. But my soul, breathed into me by God, my 
Me and what capability is there ; that is mine, and I 
will resist the stealing of it. I call that mine and not 
thine ; I will keep that, and do what work I can with 
it: God has given it me, the Devil shall not take it 
away ! Alas, my friends, Society exists and has existed 
for a great many purposes, not so easy to specify I 

Society, it is understood, does not in any age, pre- 
vent a man from being what he can be* A sooty Afri- 
can can become a Toussaint L'ouverture, a murderous 
Three-fingered Jack, let the yellow West Indies say 
to it what they will. A Scottish Poet * proud of his 
name and country,' can apply fervently to ' Gentlemen 
of the Caledonian Hunt,' and become a ganger of 
beer-barrels, and tragical immortal broken-hearted 
Singer; the stifled echo of his melody audible through 
long centuries, one other note in « that sacred Miserere' 
that rises up to Heaven, out of all times and lands. 
What I can be thou decidedly wilt not hinder me from 


"" being. Nay even for being what I could be, I have the 
strangest claims on thee, — not convenient to adjust 
at present ! Protection of breeches-pocket property ? 
O reader, to what shifts is poor Society reduced, 
struggling to give still some account of herself, in 
epochs when Cash Payment has become the sole nexus 
of man to men I On the whole, we will advise Society 
not to talk at all about what she exists for ; but rather 

• with her whole industry to exist, to try how she can 
keep existing I That is her best plan. She may de- 
pend upon it, if she ever, by cruel chance, did come 
to exist only for protection of breeches-pocket pro- 
perty, she would lose very soon the gift of protecting 
even that, and find her career in our lower world on 
the point of terminating ! — 

For the rest, that in the most perfect Feudal Ages, 
the Ideal of Aristocracy nowhere lived in vacant 
serene purity as an Ideal, but always as a poor imper- 
fect Actual, little heeding or not knowing at all that 
an Ideal lay. in it, — this too we will cheerfully admit. 
Imperfection, it is known, cleaves to human things; 
far is the Ideal departed from, in most times; very 
far ! And yet so long as an Ideal (any soul of Truth) 
does, in never so confused a manner, exist and work 
within the Actual, it is a tolerable business. Not so, 
when the Ideal has entirely departed, and the Actual 
owns to itself that it has no Idea, no soul of Truth any 
longer : at that degree of imperfection human things 
cannot continue living; they are obliged to alter or 
expire, when they attain to that. Blotches and dis- 
eases exist on the skin and deeper, the heart continu- 


ing whole; but it is another matter when the heart 
itself becomes diseased ; when there is no heart, but a 
monstrous gangrene pretending to exist there as heart ! 
On the whole, O reader, thou wilt find everywhere 
that things which have had an existence among men 
have first of all had to have a truth and worth in them, 
and were not semblances but realities. Nothing not 
a reality ever yet got. men to pay bed and board to it 
for long. Look at Mahometanism itself! Dalai-La- 
maism, even Dalai-Lamaism, one rejoices to discover, 
may be worth its victuals in this world ; not a quackery 
but a sincerity ; not a nothing but a something I The 
mistake of those who believe that fraud, force, injus- 
tice, whatsoever untrue thing, howsoever cloaked and 
decorated, was ever or can ever be the principle of 
man's relations to man, is great, and the greatest. It 
is the error of the infidel ; in whom the truth as yet is 
not. It is an error pregnant with mere errors and 
miseries ; an error fatal, lamentable, to be abandoned 
by all men. 




How an Aristocracy, in these present times and cir- 
cumstances, could, if never so well disposed, set about 
governing the Under Class ? What they should do ; 
endeavour or attempt to do ? That is even the ques- 
tion of questions: — ^the question which tkey have to 
solve; which it is our utmost function at present to 
tell them, lies there for solving, and must and will be 

Insoluble we cannot fancy it. One select class 

Society has furnished with wealth, intelligence, leisure, 

means outward and inward for governing ; another 

huge class, furnished by Society with none of those 

things, declares that it must be governed : Negative 

stands fronting Positive ; if Negative and Positive 

cannot unite, — it will be worse for both I Let the 

faculty and earnest constant effort of England combine 

round this matter ; let it once be recognised as a vital 

matter. Innumerable things our Upper Classes and 

Lawgivers might ' do ;' but the preliminary of all 

things, we must repeat, is to know that a thing must 

r needs be done. We lead them here to the shore of a 

boundless continent ; ask them, Whether they do not 

with their own eyes see it, see strange symptoms of it, 

lying huge, dark, unexplored, inevitable ; full of hope, 

but also full of difficulty, savagery, almost of despair ? 

Let them enter ; they must enter ; Time and Necessity 


have brought them hither ; where they are is do con- 
tinuing! Let them enter; the first step once taken, 
the next will have become clearer, all future steps will 
become possible. It is a great problem for all of us ; 
but for themselves, we may say, more than for any. 
On them chiefly, as the expected solvers of it, will the 
failure of a solution first fall. One way or other there 
must and will be a solution. 

True/lhese matters lie far, very far indeed, from 
the ' usuaT habits of Parliament,' in late times ; from 
the routine course of any Legislative or Administra- 
tive body of men that exists among us. Too true! 
And that is even the thing we complain of: had the 
mischief been looked into as it gradually rose, it would 
not have attained this magnitude. That self-cancelling 
Donothingism and Laissez-faire should have got so 
ingrained into our Practice, is the source of all these 
miserie§. ' It is too true that Parliament, for the matter 
of near a century now, has been able to undertake the 
adjustment of almost one thing alone, of itself and its 
own interests ; leaving other interests to rub along 
very much as they could and would. True, this was 
the practice of the whole Eighteenth Century ; and 
struggles still to prolong itself into the Nineteenth, — 
which however is no longer the time for it ! Those 
Eighteenth-century Parliaments, one may hope, will 
become a curious object one day. Are not these same 
* Memoires of Horace Walpole, to an unparliamentary 
eye, already a curious object? One of the clearest- 
sighted men of 1;he Eighteenth Century writes down his 
Parliamentary observation of it there; a determined 
despiser and merciless dissector of cant ; a liberal 


withal, one who will go all lengths for the * glorious 
revolution,* and resist Tory principles to the death: 
he writes, with an indignant elegiac feeling, how Mr. 
This, who had voted so and then voted so, and was 
the son of this and the brother of that, and had such 
claims to the fat appointment, was nevertheless scan- 
dalously postponed to Mr. That ; — whereupon are not 
the affairs of this nation in a bad way ? How hungry 
Greek meets hungry Greek on the floor of St. Ste- 
phens, and wrestles him and throttles him till he has 
to cry. Hold I the office is thine I — of this does Horace 
write. — One must say, the destinies of nations do not 
always rest entirely on Parliament. One must say, 
it is a wonderful affair that science of * government,* 
as practised in the Eighteenth Century of the Christian 
era, and still struggling to practise itself. One must 
say, it was a lucky century that could get it so prac- 
tised: a century which had inherited richly from its 
predecessors ; and also which did, not unnaturally, 
bequeath to its successors a French Revolution, general 
overturn, and reign of terror; — intimating, in most 
audible thunder, conflagration, guillotinement, cannon- 
ading and universal war and earthquake, that such 
century with its practices had ended. 

Ended; — for decidedly that course of procedure 
will no longer serve. {Parliament will absolutely, 
with whatever effort, have to lift itself out of those 
deep ruts of donothing routine ; and learn to say, on 
all sides, something more edifying than Laissez-faire^ 
If Parliament cannot learn it, what isyto become of 
Parliament ? The toiling millions of England ask of 
their English Parliament foremost of all. Canst thou 


govern OS or not ? Parliament with its privileges is 
strong ; bot Necessitv and the Laws of Nature are 
stronger than it. If Parliament cannot do this thing. 
Parliament we prophesy will do some other thing and 
things which, in the strangest and not the happiest 
way, will forward its being done, — ^not much to the 
advantage of Parliament probably! Done, one way 
or other, the thing must be. In these complicated 
times, with Cash Pa3rment as the sole nexus between 
man and man, the Toiling Classes of mankind declare, 
in their confused but most emphatic way, to the Un- 
toiliDg, that they will be governed ; that they must, — 
under penalty of Chartisms, Thuggeries, Rick-burn- 
ings, and even blacker things than those. Vain also 
is it to think that the misery of one class, of the great 
universal under class, can be isolated, and kept apart 
and peculiar, down in that class. By infallible con- 
tagion, evident enough to reflection, evident even to 
Political Economy that will reflect, the misery of the 
lowest spreads upwards and upwards till it reaches the 
very highest; till all has grown miserable, palpably 
false and wrong ; and poor drudges hungering ' on 
meal-husks and boiled grass' do, by circuitous but 
sure methods, bring kings' heads to the block I 

Cash Payment the sole nexus; and there are so 
many things which cash will not pay I Cash is a great 
miracle ; yet it has not all power in Heaven, nor even 
on Earth. * Supply and demand' we will honour also ; 
and yet how many * demands' are there, entirely indis- 
pensable, which have to go elsewhere than to the 
shops, and produce quite other than cash, before they 
can get their supply ! On the whole, what astonishing 


payments does cash make in this world I Of your 
Samuel Johnson furnished with * fourpence halfpenny 
a-day/ and solid lodging at nights on the paved streets, 
as his payment, we do not speak ; — not in the way of 
complaint: it is a world-old business for the like of 
him, that same arrangement or a worse ; perhaps the 
man, for his own uses, had need even of that and of 
no better. Nay is not Society, busy with its Talfourd 
Copyright Bill and the like, struggling to do some- 
thing effectual for that man; — enacting with all in- 
dustry that his own creation be accounted his own 
manufacture, and continue unstolen, on his own 
market-stand, for so long as sixty years? Perhaps 
Society is right there ; for discrepancies on that side 
too may become excessive. All men are not patient 
docile Johnsons ; some of them are half-mad inflam- 
mable Rousseaus. Such, in peculiar times, you may 
drive too far. Society in France, for example, was not 
destitute of cash : Society contrived to pay Philippe 
d'Orleans not yet Egalite three hundred thousand 
a-year and odd, for driving cabriolets through the 
streets of Paris and other work done : but in cash, 
encouragement, arrangement, recompense or recogni- 
tion of any kind, it had nothing to give this same 
half-mad Rousseau for his work done ; whose brain 
in consequence, too * much enforced' for a weak brain, 
uttered hasty sparks, Contrat Social and the like, 
which proved not so quenchable again I In regard to 
that species of men too, who knows whether Laissez- 
faire itself (which is Sergeant Talfourd's Copyright 
Bill continued to eternity instead of sixty years) will 


not turn out insufRcient, and have to cease, one 
day ?— 

Alas, in regard to so very many things. Laissez- 
faire ought partly to endeavour to cease! But in 
regard to poor Sanspotatoe peasants, Trades- Union 
craftsmen. Chartist cotton-spinners, the time has come 
when it must either cease or a worse thing straightway 
begin, — a thing of tinder-boxes, vitriol-bottles, second- 
hand pistols, a visil)ly insupportable thing in the eyes 
of all. 




For in very truth it is a *new Era;' a new Practice 
has become indispensable in it. One has heard so 
often of new eras, new and newest eras, that the word 
has grown rather empty of late. Yet new eras do 
come ; there is no fact surer than that they have come 
I more than once. And always with a change of era, 
with a change of intrinsic conditions, there had to be 
a change of practice and outward relations brought 
about, — if not peaceably, then by violence ; for brought 
about it had to be, there could no rest come till then. 
How many eras and epochs, not noted at the moment ; 
— which indeed is the blessedest condition of epochs, 
that they come quietly, making no proclamation of 
themselves, and are only visible long after : a Crom- 
well Rebellion, a French Revolution, * striking on the 
Horologe of Time,' to tell all mortals what o'clock it 
has become, are too expensive, if one could help it ! — 
In a strange rhapsodic * History of the Teuton 
Kindred (^Geschichte der Teutschen Sippschaft),* not 
yet translated into our language, we have found a 
Chapter on the Eras of England, which, were there 
room for it, would be instructive in this place. We 
shall crave leave to excerpt some pages; partly as a 
relief from the too near vexations of our own rather 
sorrowful Era ; partly as calculated to throw, more or 
less obliquely, some degree of light on the meanings 




of that. The Author is anonymous: but we have 
[heard him called the Herr Professor Sauerteig, and 
indeed think we know him under that name : 

* Who shall say what work and works this England 
has yet to do ? For what purpose this land of Britain 
was created, set like a jewel in the encircling blue of 
Ocean ; and this Tribe of Saxons, fashioned in the 
depths of Time, " on the shores of the Black Sea" or 
elsewhere, " out of Harzgebirge rock" or whatever 
other material, was sent travelling hitherward? No 
man can say : it was for a work, and for works, inca- 
pable of announcement in words. Thou seest them 
there ; part of them stand done, and visible to the 
eye ; even these thou canst not name : how much less 
the others still matter of prophecy only I — They live 
and labour there, these twenty million Saxon men; 
they have been born into this mystery of life out of 
the darkness of Past Time : — how changed now since 
the first Father and first Mother of them set forth, 
quitting the Tribe of Theath, with passionate farewell, 
under questionable auspices; on scanty bullock-cart, if 
they had even bullocks and a cart ; with axe and hunt- 
ing-spear, to subdue a portion of our common Planet I 
This Nation now has cities and seedfields, has spring- 
vans, dray-waggons. Long-acre carriages, nay railway 
trains ; has coined-money, exchange-bills, laws, books, 
war-fleets, spinning -jennies, warehouses and West- 
India Docks : see what it has built and done, what it 
can and will yet build and do I These umbrageous 
pleasure- woods, green meadows, shaven stubble-fields, 
smooth-sweeping roads ; these high-domed cities, and 


what they hold and bear ; this mild Good-morrow which 

the stranger bids thee, equitable, nay forbearant if 

need were, judicially calm and law-observing towards 

thee a stranger, what work has it not cost? How 

many brawny arms, generation after generation, sank 

down wearied ; how many noble hearts, toiling while 

life lasted, and wise heads that wore themselves dim 

with scanning and discerning, before this waste White- 

cliff', Albion so-called, with its other Cassiterides Tin 

Islands, became a British Empire I The stream 

of World- History has altered its complexion ; Romans 

are dead out, English are come in. The red broad 

mark of Romanhood, stamped ineffaceably on that 

Chart of Time, has disappeared from the present, and 

belongs only to the past. England plays its part; 

England too has a mark to leave, and we will hope 

none of the least significant. Of a truth, whosoever 

had, with the bodily eye, seen Hengst and Horsa 

mooring on the mud-beach of Thanet, on that spring 

morning of the Year 449 ; and then, with the spiritual 

eye, looked forward to New York, Calcutta, Sidney 

Cove, across the ages and the oceans; and thought 

what Wellingtons, Washingtons, Shakspears, Miltons, 

Watts, Arkwrights, William Pitts and Davie CTOcketts ^ aa^^t^JU ' » 

had to issue from that business, and do their several ^ tnL/^*^ iAA^**^ 

taskworks so, — he would have said, those leather-boats ^VVw^^^. 

of Hengst's had a kind of cargo in them I A genea- 

logic Mythus superior to any in the old Greek, to 

almost any in the old Hebrew itself; and not a Mythus 

either, but every fibre of it fact. An Epic Poem was 

there, and all manner of poems ; except that the Poet 

has not yet made his appearance.' 


* Six centuries of obscure endeavour,* continues 
Sauerteig, * which to read Historians, you would in- 
cline to call mere obscure slaughter, discord, and mis- 
endeavour ; of which all that the human memory, after 
a thousand readings, can remember, is that it resembled, 
what Milton names it, the " flocking and fighting of 
kites and crows :" this, in brief, is the history of the 
Heptarchy or Seven Kingdoms. Six centuries ; a 
stormy spring-time, if there ever was one, for a Nation. 
Obscure fighting of kites and crows, however, was 
not the History of it ; but was only what the dim His- 
torians of it saw good to record. Were not forests 
felled, bogs drained, fields made arable, towns built, 
laws made, and the Thought and Practice of men in 
many ways perfected ? Venerable Bede had got a 
language which he could now not only speak, but spell 
and put on paper: think what lies in that. Bemur- 
mured by the German sea-flood swinging slow with 
sullen roar against those hoarse Northumbrian rocks, 
the venerable man set down several things in a legible 
manner. Or was the smith idle, hammering only war- 
tools ? He had learned metallurgy, stithy- work in 
general ; and made ploughshares withal, and adzes and 
mason-hammers. Castra^ Caesters or Chesters, Dons, 
Tons (^ZkiunSf Inclosures or Totans), not a few, did 
they not stand there ; of burnt brick, of timber, of 
lath-and-clay ; sending up the peaceable smoke of 
hearths ? England had a History then too ; though 
no Historian to write it. Those " flockings and fight- 
ings," sad inevitable necessities, were the expensive 
tentative steps towards some capability of living and 
working in concert : experiments they were, not always 


conclusive, to ascertain who had the might over whom, 
the right over whom. 

* M. Thierry has written an ingenious Book, cele- 
brating with considerable pathos the fate of the Saxons 
fallen under that fierce-hearted ConquisUttor, Acquirer 
or Conqueror, as he is named. M. Thierry professes 
to have a turn for looking at that side of things : the 
fate of the Welsh too moves him ; of the Celts gener- 
ally, whom a fiercer race swept before them into the 
mountainous nooks of the West, whither they were 
not worth following. Noble deeds, according to M. 
Thierry, were done by these unsuccessful men, heroic 
sufferings undergone ; which it is a pious duty to 
rescue from forgetfulness. True, surely! A tear at 
least is due to the unhappy : it is right and fit that 
there should be a man to assert that lost cause too, 
and see what can still be made of it. Most right : — 
and yet, on the whole, taking matters on that great 
scale, what can we say but that the cause which pleased 
the gods has in the end to please Cato also? Cato 
cannot alter it ; Cato will find that he cannot at bottom 
( wish to alter it. Might and Right do differ frightfully 
from hour to hour ; but give them centuries to try it 
in, they are found to be identical. Whose land was 
this of Britain? God's who made it, His and no 
other s it was and is. Who of God's creatures had 
right to live in it? The wolves and bisons? Yes 
they ; till one with a better right shewed himself. The 
Celt, ^^ aboriginal savage of Europe," as a snarling anti- 


quaiy names him, arrived, pretending to have a better 
right; and did accordingly, not without pain to the 
bisons, make good the same. He had a better right 
to that piece of God*s land ; namely a better might to 
turn it to use ; — a might to settle himself there, at 
least, and try what use he could turn it to. The bisons 
disappeared ; the Celts took possession, and tilled* 
Forever, was it to be ? Alas, Forever is not a category 
that can establish itself in this world of Time. A 
world of Time, by the very definition of it, is a world 
of mortality and mutability, of Beginning and Ending. 
No property is eternal but God the Maker's : whom 
Heaven permits to take possession, his is the right; 
Heaven's sanction is such permission, — ^while it lasts : 
nothing more can be said. Why does that hyssop 
grow there, in the chink of the wall? Because the 
whole universe, sufficiently occupied otherwise, could 
not hitherto prevent its growing I It has the might 
and the right. By the same great law do Roman 
Empires establish themselves. Christian Religions pro- 
mulgate themselves, and all extant Powers bear rule. 
The strong thing is the just thing : this thou wilt find 
throughout in our world ; — as indeed was God and 
Truth the Maker of our world, or was Satan and 
Falsehood ? ^ 

* One proposition widely current as to this Norman 
Conquest is of a Physiologic sort : That the con- 
querors and conquered here were of different races ; 
nay that the Nobility of England is still, to this hour, 
of a somewhat different blood from the commonalty, 
their fine Norman features contrasting so pleasantly 
with the coarse Saxon ones of the others. God knows, 


there are coarse enough features to be seen among the 
commonalty of that country ; but if the Nobility's be 
finer, it is not their Normanhood that can be the rea- 
son. Does the above Physiologist reflect who those 
same Normans, Northmen, originally were ? Baltic 
Saxons, and what other miscellany of Lurdanes, Jutes 
and Deutsch Pirates from the East-sea marshes would 
join them in plunder of France I If living three cen- 
turies longer in Heathenism, sea-robbery, and the 
unlucrative fishing of ambergris could ennoble them 
beyond the others, then were they ennobled. The 
Normans were Saxons who had learned to speak 
French. No : by Thor and Wodan, the Saxons were 
all as noble as needful; — shaped, says the My thus, 
" from the rock of the Harzgebirge ;" brother-tribes 
being made of clay, wood, water, or what other mate- 
rial might be going ! A stubborn, taciturn, sulky, 
indomitable rock-made race of men ; as the figure they 
cut in all quarters, in the cane-brake of Arkansas, in 
the Ghauts of the Himmalayha, no less than in London 
City, in Warwick or Lancaster County, does still 
abundantly manifest.* 

*To this English People in World-History, there 
have been, shall I prophesy. Two grand tasks assigned ? 
Huge-lo.oming through the dim tumult of the always 
incommensurable Present Time, outlines of two tasks 
disclose themselves : the grand Industrial task of con- 
quering some half or more of this Terraqueous Planet 
for the use of man ; then secondly, the grand Consti- 
tutional task of sharing, in some pacific endurable 



manner, the fruit of said conquest, and shewing all 
people how it might be done. These I will call their 
two tasks, discernible hitherto in World-History : in 
both of these they have made respectable though un- 
equal progress. Steamengines, ploughshares, pick- 
axes ; what is meant by conquering this Planet, they 
partly know. Elective franchise, ballot-box, represen- 
tative assembly ; how to accomplish sharing of that 
conquest, they do not so well know. Europe knows 
not ; Europe vehemently asks in these days, but re- 
ceives no answer, no credible answer. For as to the 
partial Delolmish, Benthamee, or other French or 
English answers, current in the proper quarters and 
highly beneficial and indispensable there, thy disbelief 
in them as final answers, I take it, is complete.' 

* Succession of rebellions ? Successive clippings 
away of the Supreme Authority ; class after class rising 
in revolt to say, " We will no more be governed so" ? 
That is not the history of the English Constitution ; 
not altogether that. Rebellion is the means, but it is 
not the motive cause. The motive cause, and true 
secret of the matter, were always tliis : The necessity 
there was for rebelling ? 

* Rights I will permit thee to call everywhere 
" correctly-articulated mights" A dreadful . business 
to articulate correctly I Consider those Barons of 
Runnymead ; consider all manner of successfully re- 
volting men ! Your Great Charter has to be experi- 
mented on, by battle and debate, for a hundred-and- 
fifty years ; is then found to be correct ; and stands as 



true Magna Chartay — nigh cut in pieces by a tailor, 
short of measures, in later generations. Mights, I say, 
are a dreadful business to articulate correctly I Yet 
articulated they have to be ; the time comes for it, the 
need comes for it, and with enormous difficulty and 
experimenting it is got done. Call it not succession 
of rebellions ; call it rather succession of expansions, 
of enlightenments, gift of articulate utterance descend- 
ing ever lower. Class after class acquires faculty of 
utterance, — Necessity teaching and compelling ; as 
the dumb man, seeing the knife at his father's throat, 
suddenly acquired speech I Consider too how class 
after class not only acquires faculty of articulating 
what its might is, but likewise grows in might, ac- 
quires might or loses might; so that always, after a \ 
space, there is not only new gift of articulating, but J 
there is something new to articulate. Constitutional 
epochs will never cease among men.' 

I * And so now, the Barons all settled and satisfied, 
a new class hitherto silent had begun to speak ; the 
Middle Class, namely. In the time of James First, not 
only Knights of the Shire but Parliamentary Burgesses 
assemble ; a real House of Commons has come deci- 
sively into play, — much to the astonishment of James 
First We call it a growth of mights, if also of neces- 
sities; a growth of power to articulate mights, and 
make rights of them. 

' In those past silent centuries, among those silent 
classes, much had been going on. Not only had red- 



deer in the New and other Forests been got preserved 
and shot ; and treacheries of Simon de Montfort, wars 
of Red and White Roses, Battles of Crecy, Battles of 
Bosworth and many other battles been got transacted 
and adjusted; but England wholly, not without sore 
toil and aching bones to the millions of sires and the 
millions of sons these eighteen generations, had been 
got drained and tilled, covered with yellow harvests, 
beautiful and rich possessions ; the mud -wooden 
Caesters and Chesters had become steepled tile-roofed 
compact Towns. Sheffield had taken to the manufac- 
ture of Sheffield whittles ; Worstead could from wool 
spin yarn, and knit or weave the same into stockings 
or breeches for men. England had property valuable 
to the auctioneer ; but the accumulate manufacturing, 
commercial, economic skill which lay impalpably 
warehoused in English hands and heads, what auc- 
tioneer could estimate ? 

< Hardly an Englishman to be met with but could 
do something ; some cunninger thing than break his 
fellow-creature's head with battle-axes. The seven 
incorporated trades, with their million guild-brethren, 
with their hammers, their shuttles and tools, what an 
army ; — ^fit to conquer the land of England, as we say, 
and to hold it conquered I Nay, strangest of all, the 
English people had acquired the faculty and habit of 
thinking, — even of believing : individual conscience 
had unfolded itself among them ; Conscience, and Intel- 
ligence its handmaid. Ideas of innumerable kinds were 
circulating among these men : witness one Shakspeare, 
a woolcomber, poacher, or whatever else at Stratford 
in Warwickshire, who happened to write books I The 


finest human figure, as I apprehend, that Nature has 
hitherto seen fit to make of our widely diffused Teu- 
tonic clay. Saxon, Norman, Celt or Sarmat, I find no 
human soul so beautiful, these fifteen hundred known 
years; — our supreme modem European man. Him 
England had contrived to realise : were there not ideas? 
< Ideas poetic and also Puritanic, — that had to seek 
utterance in the notablest way I England had got her 
Shakspeare ; but was now about to get her Milton and 
Oliver Cromwell. This too we will call a new expan- 
sion, hard as it might be to articulate and adjust ; this, 
that a man could actually have a Conscience for his 
own behoof, and not for his Priest's only ; that his 
IMest, be who he might, would henceforth have to take 
that fact along with him. One of the hardest things 
to adjust I It is not adjusted down to this hour. 
It lasts onwards to the time they call << Glorious Re- 
volution" before so much as a reasonable truce can be 
made, and the war proceed by logic mainly. And still 
it is war, and no peaxse, unless we call waste vacancy 
peace. But it needed to be adjusted, as the others 
had done, as still others will do. Nobility at Runny- 
mead cannot endure foul-play grown palpable ; no 
more can Gentry in Long Parliament ; no more can 
Commonalty in Parliament they name Reformed. 
Prynne's bloody ears were as a testimony and question 
tb all England : '< Englishmen, is this fair ?" England, 
no longer continent of herself, answered, bellowing as 
with the voice of lions : " No, it is not fair I' 

r»» > 


* But now on the Industrial side, while this great 



Constitutional controversy, and revolt of the Middle 
Class had not ended, had yet but begun, what a shoot 
was that that England, carelessly, in quest of other 
objects, struck out across the Ocean, into the waste 
land which it named New England I Hail to thee, 
poor little ship Mayflower, of Delft-Haven : poor 
common-looking ship, hired by conmion charterparty 
for coined dollars; caulked with mere oakum and 
tar; provisioned with vulgarest biscuit and bacon; — 
yet what ship Argo, or miraculous epic ship built by 
the Sea-gods, was not a foolish bumbarge in compari- 
son I Golden fleeces or the like these sailed for, with 
or without effect; thou little Mayflower hadst in thee 
a veritable Promethean spark; the life-spark of the 
largest Nation on our Earth, — so we may already name 
the Transatlantic Saxon Nation. They went seeking 
leave to hear sermon in their own method, these May- 
flower Puritans ; a most honest indispensable search : 
and yet, like Saul the son of Kish, seeking a small 
thing, they found this unexpected great thing I Ho- 
nour to the brave and true ; they verily, we say, carry 
fire from Heaven, and have a power that themselves 
dream not of. Let all men honour Puritanism, since 
God has so honoured it. Islam itself, with its wild 
heartfelt " Allah ahbar^ God is great," was it not ho- 
noured? There is but one thing without honour; 
smitten with eternal barrenness, inability to do or be : 
Insincerity, Unbelief. He who believes no things who 
believes only the shows of things, is not in relation 
with Nature and Fact at all. Nature denies him; 
orders him at his earliest convenience to disappear. 
Let him disappear from her domains, — into those of 


Chaos, Hypothesis and Simulacrum, or wherever else 
his parish may be.' 

* As to the Third Constitutional controversy, that of 
the Working Classes, which now debates itself every- 
where these fifty years, in France specifically since 
1789, in England too since 1831, it is doubtless the 
hardest of all to get articulated: finis of peace, or even 
reasonable truce on this, is a thing I have little pro- 
spect of for several generations. Dark, wild- weltering, 
dreary, boundless ; nothing heard on it yet but ballot- 
boxes. Parliamentary arguing ; not to speak of much 
far worse arguing, by steel and lead, from Valmy to 
Waterloo, to Peterloo I * — 

* And yet of Representative Assemblies may not this 
good be said : That contending parties in a country 
do thereby ascertain one another's strength? They 
fight there, since fight they must, by petition, Parlia- 
mentary eloquence, not by sword, bayonet and bursts 
of military cannon. Why do men fight at all, if it be 
not that they are yet i^nacquainted with one another's 
strength, and must fight and ascertain it? Knowing 
that thou art stronger than I, that thou canst compel 
me, I will submit to thee: unless I chance to prefer 
extermination, and slightly circuitous suicide, there is 
no other course for me. That in England, by public 
meetings, by petitions, by elections, leading-articles, 
and other jangling hubbub and tongue-fence which 
perpetually goes on everywhere in that country, peo- 
ple ascertain one another's strength, and the most ob- 
durate House of Lords has to yield and give in before 

E 2 



it come to cannonading and guillotinement : this is a 
saving characteristic of England. Nay, at bottom, is 
not this the celebrated English Constitution itself? 
This t^TZspoken Constitution, whereof Privilege of Par- 
liament, Money-Bill, Mutiny-Bill, and all that could 
be spoken and enacted hitherto, is not the essence and 
body, but only the shape and skin? Such Constitu- 
tion is, in our times, verily invaluable.' 

* Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, 
winter chilling the lap of very May ; but at length the 
season of summer does come. So long the tree stood 
naked ; angry wiry naked boughs moaning and creak- 
ing in the wind : you would say. Cut it down, why 
cumbereth it the ground ? Not so ; we must wait ; 
all things will have their time. — Of the man Shak- 
speare, and his Elizabethan Era, with its Sydney s, 
Raleighs, Bacons, what could we say ? That it was a 
spiritual flower- time. Suddenly, as with the breath of 
June, your rude naked tree is touched ; bursts into 
leaves and flowers, stpch leaves and flowers. The past 
long ages of nakedness, and wintry fermentation and 
elaboration, have done their part, though seeming to 
do nothing. The past silence has got a voice, all the 
more significant the longer it had continued silent. 
In trees, men, institutions, creeds, nations, in all things 
extant and growing in this universe, we may note such 
vicissitudes, and budding-times. Moreover there are 
spiritual budding-times ; and then also there are phy- 
sical, appointed to nations. 

* Thus in the middle of that poor calumniated 


Eighteenth Century, see once more! Long winter 
again past, the dead-seeming tree proves to be living, 
to have been always living ; after motionless times, 
every bough shoots forth on the sudden, very 
strangely : — it now turns out that this favoured Eng- 
land was not only to have had her Shakspeares, 
Bacons, Sydneys, but to have her Watts, Arkwrights, 
Brindleys I We will honour greatness in all kinds. The 
Prospero evoked the singing of Ariel, and took captive 
the world with those melodies: the same Prospero 
can send his Fire-demons panting across all oceans; 
shooting with the speed of meteors, on cunning high- 
ways, from end to end of kingdoms ; and make Iron 
his missionary, preaching its evangel to the brute Pri- 
meval Powers, which listen and obey : neither is this 
small. Manchester, with its cotton-fuz, its smoke and 
dust, its tumult and contentious squalor, is hideous to 
thee ? Think not so : a precious substance, beautiful 
as magic dreams and yet no dream but a reality, lies 
hidden in that noisome wrappage; — a wrappage strug- 
gling indeed (look at Chartisms and such like) tp cast 
itself off, and leave the beauty free and visible there ! 
fHast thou heard, with sound ears, the awakening of a 
Manchester, on Monday morning, at half-past ^ve by 
the clock ; the rushing off of its thousand mills, like 
the boom of an Atlantic tide, ten thousand times ten 
thousand spools and spindles all set humming there, — it 
is perhaps, if thou knew it well, sublime as a Niagara, 
or more so. Cotton-spinning is the clothing of the 
naked in its result; the triumph of man over matter 
tin its means. Soot and despair are not the essence of 
it; they are divisible from it, — at this hour, are they 


not crying fiercely to be divided ? The great Goethe, 
looking at cotton Switzerland, declared it, I am told, 
to be of all things that he had seen in this world the 
most poetical. Whereat friend Kanzler von Miiller, 
-in search of the palpable picturesque, could not but 
stare wide-eyed. Nevertheless our World-Poet knew 
well what he was saying.* 

* Richard Arkwright, it would seem, was not a 
beautiful man ; no romance-hero with haughty eyes, 
Apollo-lip, and gesture like the herald Mercury; a 
plain almost gross, bag-cheeked, potbellied Lancashire 
man, with an air of painful reflection, yet also of copi- 
ous free digestion ; — a man stationed by the commu- 
nity to shave certain dusty beards, in the Northern 
parts of England, at a halfpenny each. To such end, 
we say, by forethought, oversight, accident and arrange- 
ment, had Richard Arkwright been, by the community 
of England and his own consent, set apart. Never- 
theless, in strapping of razors, in lathering of dusty 
beards, and the contradictions and confusions attend- 
ant thereon, the man had notions in that rough head 
of his ; spindles, shuttles, wheels and contrivances ply- 
ing ideally within the same : rather hopeless-looking ; 
which, however, he did at last bring to bear. Not 
without difficulty I His townsfolk rose in mob round 
him, for threatening to shorten labour, to shorten 
wages ; so that he had to fly, with broken washpots, 
scattered household, and seek refuge elsewhere. Nay 
his wife too, as I learn, rebelled; burnt his wooden 
model of his spinning-wheel ; resolute that he should 


stick to his razors rather; — for which, however, he 
decisively, as thou wilt rejoice to understand, packed 
her out of doors. O reader, what a Historical Pheno- 
menon is that bag-cheeked, potbellied, much-enduring, 
much-inventing barber I French Revolutions were a- 
brewing: to resist the same in any measure, imperial 
Kaisers were impotent without the cotton and cloth of 
England ; and it was this man that had to give Eng- 
land the power of cotton.* 

< Neither had Watt of the Steamengine a heroic 
origin, any kindred with the princes of this world. 
The princes of this world were shooting their par- 
tridges; noisily, in Parliament or elsewhere, solving 
the question. Head or tail? while this man with 
blackened fingers, with grim brow, was searching out, 
in his workshop, the Fire-secret ; or, having found if, 
was painfully wending to and fro in quest of a " mo- 
uied man," as indispensable man-midwife of the same. 
Reader, thou shalt admire what is admirable, not what 
is dressed in admirable ; learn to know the British lion 
even when he is not throne-supporter, and also the 
British jackass in lion's skin even when he is. Ah, 
couldst thou always, what a world were it I But has 
the Berlin Royal Academy or any English Useful- 
Knowledge Society discovered, for instance, who it 
was that first scratched earth with a stick ; and threw 
corns, the biggest he could find,, into it; seedgrains of 
a certain grass, which he named white or wheat 9 
Again, what is the whole Tees-water and other breed- 
ing-world to him who stole home from the forests the 
first bison-calf, and bred it up to be a tame bison, a 
milk-cow? No machine of all they shewed me in 


Birmingham can be put in comparison for ingenuity 
with that figure of the wedge named knife^ of the 
wedges named saw^ of the lever named hammer: — 
nay is it not with the hammer-knife, named stDord, 
that men fight, and maintain any semblance of consti- 
tuted authority that yet survives among us? The 
steamengine I call fire-demon and great; but it is 
nothing to the invention o^ fire. Prometheus, Tubal- 
cain, Triptolemus ! Are not our greatest men as good 
as lost ? The men that walk daily among us, clothing 
us, warming us, feeding us, walk shrouded in darkness, 
mere mythic men. 
\ * It is said, ideas produce revolutions ; and truly so 
they do ; not spiritual ideas only, but even mechanical. 
In this clanging clashing universal Sword-dance that 
the European world now dances for the last half-cen- 
tury, Voltaire is but one choragus, where Richard Ark- 
wright is another. Let it dance itself out. When 
Arkwright shall have become mythic like Arachne, 
we shall still spin in peaceable profit by him ; and the 
Sword-dance, with all its sorrowful shufflings, Water- 
loo waltzes, Moscow gallopades, how forgotten will 
that be !' 

* On the whole, were not all these things most 
unexpected, unforeseen? As indeed what thing is 
foreseen ; especially what man, the parent of things ! 
Robert Clive in that same time went out, with a de- 
veloped gift of penmanship, as writer or superior book- 
keeper to a trading factory established in the distant 
East. With gift of penmanship developed ; with other 


gifts not yet developed, which the calls of the case did 
by and by develope. Not fit for book-keeping alone, 
the man was found fit for conquering Nawaubs, found- 
ing kingdoms, Indian Empires t In a questionable 
manner, Indian Empire from the other hemisphere 
took up its abode in Leadenhall Street, in the City of 

* Accidental all these things and persons look, un- 
expected every one of them to man. Yet inevitable 
every one of them ; foreseen, not unexpected, by Su- 
preme Power; prepared, appointed from afar. Ad- 
vancing always through all centuries, in the middle of 
the eighteenth they arrived. The Saxon kindred burst 
forth into cotton-spinning, cloth-cropping, iron-forging, 
steamengining, railwaying, commercing and careering 
towards all the winds of Heaven, — ^in this inexplicable 
noisy manner ; the noise of which, in Power-mills, 
in progress-of-the-species Magazines, still deafens us 
somewhat. Most noisy, sudden ! The Staffordshire 
coal-stratum, and coal-strata, lay side by side with 
iron-strata, quiet since the creation of the world. 
Water flowed in Lancashire and Lanarkshire; bitu- 
minous fire lay bedded in rocks there too, — over which 
how many fighting Stanleys, black Douglases, and 
other the like contentious persons, had fought out 
their bickerings and broils, not without result, we will 
hope ! But God said. Let the iron missionaries be ; 
and they were. Coal and iron, so long close unre- 
gardful neighbours, are wedded together; Birming- 
ham and Wolverhampton, and the hundred Stygian 
forges, with their fire-throats and never-resting sledge- 
hammers, rose into day. Wet Manconium stretched 


out her hand towards Carolina and the torrid zone, 
and plucked cotton there : who could forbid her, her 
that had the skill to weave it ? Fish fled thereupon 
from the Mersey River, vexed with innumerable keels. 
England, I say, dug out her bitumen-flre, and bade it 
work: towns rose, and steeple-chimneys; — Chartisms 
also, and Parliaments they name Reformed/ 

Such, figuratively given, are some prominent 
points, chief mountain-summits, of our English His- 
tory past and present, according to the Author of this 
strange untranslated Work, whom we think we recog- 
nise to be an old acquaintance. 




To US, looking at these matters somewhat in the same 
light, Reform-Bills, French Revolutions, Louis-Phi- 
lippes, Chartisms, Revolts of Three Days, and what 
not, are no longer inexplicable. Where the great mass 
of men is tolerably right, all is right ; where they are 
not right, all is wrong. The speaking classes speak and 
debate, each for itself; the great dumb, deep-buried 
class lies like an Enceladus, who in his pain, if he will 
complain of it, has to produce earthquakes I Every- 
where, in these countries, in these times, the central 
fact worthy of all consideration forces itself on us in 
this shape : the claim of the Free Working-man to be 
raised to a level, we may say, with the Working Slave ; 
his anger and cureless discontent till that be done. 
Food, shelter, due guidance, in return for his labour : 
candidly interpreted. Chartism and all such isms mean 
that ; and the madder they are, do they not the more 
emphatically mean, " See what guidance you have 
given us ! What delirium we are brought to talk and 
project, guided by nobody!'* ^Laissez-faire on the 
part of the Governing Classes, we repeat again and 
again, will, with whatever difficulty, have to cease ; 
pacific mutual division of the spoil, and a world well 
I let alone, will no longer sufiice. A Do-nothing Guid- 
ance ; and it is a Do-something World ! Would to 



God our Ducal Duces would become Leaders indeed ; 
our Aristocracies and Priesthoods discover in some 
suitable degree what the world expected of them, 
what the world could no longer do without getting 
of them ! Nameless unmeasured confusions, misery 
to themselves and us, might so be spared. But that 
too will be as God has appointed. If they learn, it 
will be well and happy : if not they, then others in- 
stead of them will and must, and once more, though 
after a long sad circuit, it will be well and happy. 

Neither is the history of Chartism mysterious in 
these times ; especially if that of Radicalism be looked|||^ 
at. All along, for the last five-and-twenty years, it 
was curious to note how the internal discontent of 
England struggled to find vent for itself through any 
orifice : the poor patient, all sick from centre to sur- 
face, complains now of this member, now of that ; — 
corn-laws, currency-laws, free-trade, protection, want 
of free-trade : the poor patient tossing from side to side, 
seeking a sound side to lie on, finds none. This Doc- 
tor says, it is the liver ; that other, it is the lungs, the 
head, the heart, defective transpiration iii the skin. A - 
thoroughgoing Doctor of eminence said, it was rotten 
boroughs; the want of extended suffrage to destroy 
rotten boroughs. From of old, the English patient 
himself had a continually recurring notion that this 
was it. The English people are used to suffrage ; it is 
their panacea for all that goes wrong with them ; they 
have a fixed-idea of suffrage. Singular enough : one's 
right to vote for a Member of Parliament, to send 
one's * twenty-thousandth part of a master of tongue- 
fence to National Palaver,* — ^the Doctors asserted that 


this was Freedom, this and no other. It seemed cre- 
dible to many men, of high degree and of low. The 
persuasion of remedy grew, the evil was pressing; 
Swing's ricks were on fire. Some nine years ago, a 
State-surgeon rose, and in peculiar circumstances said: 
j Let there be extension of the suffrage ; let the great 
Doctor's nostrum, the patient's old passionate prayer 
be fulfilled I 

Parliamentary Radicalism, while it gave articulate 
utterance to the discontent of the English people^ 
could not by its worst enemy be said to be without a 
function. If it is in the natural order of things that 
there must be discontent, no less so is it that such dis- 
content should have an outlet, a Parliamentary voice. 
Here the matter is debated of, d^nonstrated, contra- 
dicted, qualified, reduced to feasibility ; — can at least 
solace itself with hope, and die gently, convinced of 
^/^feasibility. The New, Untried ascertains how it will 
fit itself into the arrangements of the Old ; whether the 
Old can be compelled to admit it ; how in that case it 
may, with the minimum of violence, be admitted. Nor 
let us count it an easy one, this function of Radi- 
calism ; it was one of the most difficult. The pain- 
stricken patient does, indeed, without effort groan and 
complain ; but not without effort does the physician 
ascertain what it is that has gone wrong with him, 
how some remedy may be devised for him. And 
above all, if your patient is not one sick man, but a 
whole sick nation ! Dingy dumb millions, grimed 
with dust and sweat, with darkness, rage and sorrow, 
stood round these men, saying, or struggling as they 
could to say : << Behold, our lot is unfair ; our life is \ 


not whole but sick; we cannot live under injustice; 
go ye and get us justice I" For whether the poor 
operative clamoured for Time-bill, Factory-bill, Corn- 
bill, for or against whatever bill, this was what he 
meant. All bills plausibly presented might have some 
look of hope in them, might get some clamour of 
apprioval from him ; as, for the man wholly sick, 
there \is no disease in the Nosology but he can trace 
in himself some symptoms of it. Such was the mission 
of Parliamentary Radicalism. 

How Parliamentary Radicalism has fulfilled this 
mission, entrusted to its management these eight years 
now, is known to all men. The expectant millions 
have sat at a feast of the Barmecide; been bidden 
fill themselves with the imagination of meat. What 

Jing has Radicalism obtained for them ; what other 
an shadows of things has it so much as asked for 
em? Cheap Justice, Justice to Ireland, Irish Ap- 
propriation-Clause, Ratepaying Clause, Poor -Rate, 
Church -Rate, Household Suffrage, Ballot -Question 
<open' or shut: not things but shadows of things; 
Benthamee formulas ; barren as the east- wind ! An 
Ultra- radical, not seemingly of the Benthamee species, 
is forced to exclaim : ^ The people are at last wearied. 
They say. Why should we be ruined in our shops, 
thrown out of our farms, voting for these men? 
Ministerial majorities decline; this Ministry has be- 
come impotent, had it even the will to do good. 
They have called long to us, " We are a Reform 
Ministry; will ye not support us?" We have sup- 
ported them ; borne them forward indignantly on our 
shoulders, time after time, fall after fall, when they 


had been hurled out into the street ; and lay prostrate, 
helpless, like dead luggage. It is the fact of a Reform 
Ministry, not the name of one that we would support I 
Languor, sickness of hope deferred pervades the public 
mind; the public mind says at last. Why all this 
struggle for the name of a Reform Ministry? Let 
the Tories be Ministry if they will ; let at least some 
living reality be Ministry I A rearing horse that will 
only run backward, he is not the horse one would 
choose to travel on : yet of all conceivable horses the 
worst is the dead horse. Mounted on a rearing horse, 
you may back him, spur him, check him, make a 
little way even backwards : but seated astride of your 
dead horse, what chance is there for you in the 
chapter of possibilities? You sit motionless, hope- 
less, a spectacle to gods and men.' 

There is a class of revolutionists named Girondinsy 
whose fate in history is remarkable enough I Men 
who rebel, and urge the Lower Classes to rebel, ought 
to have other than Formulas to go upon. Men who 
discern in the misery of the toiling complaining mil- 
lions not misery, but only a raw-material which can 
be wrought upon, and traded in, for one's own poor 
hidebound theories and egoisms ; to whom millions of 
living fellow-creatures, with beating hearts in their 
bosoms, beating, suffering, hoping, are * masses,' mere 
< explosive masses for blowing down Bastilles with,' 
for voting at hustings for us: such men are of the 
questionable species'!/ No man is justified in resisting 
by word or deed ffie Authority he lives under, for a 
light cause, be such Authority what it may. Obe- 
dience, little as many may consider that side of the 


matter, is the primary duty of man. No man but ii 
bound indefeasibly, with all force of obligation, to obey* 
Parents, teachers, superiors, leaders, these aU creatures 

/ recognise as deserving obedience. Recognised or not 
recognised, a man has his superiors, a regular hier- 
archy above him ; extending up, degree above degree ; 

/' to Heaven itself and God the Maker, who made His 
world not for anarchy but for rule and order I It is 
not a light matter when the just man can recognise in 
the powers set over him no longer anything that is 
divine ; when resistance against such becomes a deeper 
law of order than obedience to them ; when the just 
man sees himself in the tragical position of a stirrer 
up of strife I Rebel, without due and most due cause, 
is the ugliest of words ; the first rebel was Satan. — 

But now in these circumstances shall we blame 
the unvoting disappointed millions that they turn away 
with horror from this name of a Reform Ministry, 
name of a Parliamentary Radicalism, and demand a 
fact and reality thereof? That they too, having still 
faith in what so many had faith in, still count ' exten- 
sion of the suffrage* the one thing needful ; and say, 
in such manner as they can. Let the suffrage be still 
extended, then all will be well ? It is the ancient British 
faith ; promulgated in these ages by prophets and evan- 
gelists ; preached forth from barrel-heads by all manner 
of men. He who is free and blessed has his twenty- 
thousandth part of a master of tongue-fence in National 
Palaver; whosoever is not blessed but unhappy, the 
ailment of him is that he has it not Ought he not to 
have it then ? By the law of God and of men, yea ; — 
and will have it withal I Chartism, with its * five 


points/ borne aloft on pikeheads and torchlight meet- 
ings, is there. Chartism is one of the most natural 
phenomena in England. Not that Chartism now exists 
should provoke wonder ; but that the invited hungry 
people should have sat eight years at such table of the 
Barmecide, patiently expecting somewhat from the 
Name of a Reform Ministry, and not till after eight 
years have grown hopeless, this is the respectable side 
of the miracle. 





" But what are we to do ?" exclaims the practical 
man, impatiently on every side : " Descend from 
speculation and the safe pulpit, down into the rough 
market-place, and say what can be done !" — O prac- 
tical man, there seem very many things which practice 
and true manlike e£Port, in Parliament and out of it, 
might actually avail to do. But the first of all things, 
as already said, is to gird thyself up for actual doing ; 
to know that thou actually either must do, orf as the 
Irish say, ' come out of that !' 

It is not a lucky word this same impossible: no 
good comes of those that have it so often in their 
mouth. Who is he that says always, There is a lion 
in the way ? Sluggard, thou must slay the lion then ; 
the way has to be travelled ! In Art, in Practice, in- 
numerable critics will demonstrate that most things 
are henceforth impossible ; that we are got, once for 
all, into the region of perennial con^monplace, and 
must contentedly continue there. Let such critics de- 
monstrate ; it is the nature of them : what harm is in 
it? Poetry once well demonstrated to be impossible, 
arises the Bums, arises the Goethe. Unheroic common- 
place being now clearly all we have to look for, comes 
the Napoleon, comes the conquest of the world. It was 
proved by fluxionary calculus, that steamships could 
never get across from the farthest point of Ireland 


to the nearest of Newfoundland: impelling force, re- 
sisting force, maximum here, minimum there ; by law 
of Nature, and geometric demonstration : — what could 
be done? The Great Western could weigh anchor 
from Bristol Port; that could be done. The Great 
Western, bounding safe through the gullets of the 
Hudson, threw her cable out on the capstan of New 
York, 'and left our still moist paper-demonstration to 
dry itself at leisure. " Impossible ?" cried Mirabeau 
to his secretary, " Ne me dites jamais ce bete de mot, 
Never name to me that blockhead of a word !" 

There is a phenomenon which one might call 
Paralytic Radicalism, in these days; which gauges 
with Statistic measuring - reed, sounds with Philo- 
sophic Politico-Economic plummet the deep dark sea 
of troubles ; and having taught us rightly what an 
infinite sea of troubles it is, sums up with the prac- 
tical inference, and use of consolation. That nothing 
whatever can be done in it by man, who has simply 
to sit still, and look wistfully to * time and general 
laws ;' and thereupon, without so much as recommend- 
ing suicide, coldly takes its leave of us. Most paralytic, 
uninstructive ; unproductive of any comfort to one ! 
They are an unreasonable class who cry, "Peace, peace," 
when there is no peace. But what kind of class are 
they who cry, " Peace, peace, have I not told you that 
there is no peace I" Paralytic Radicalism, frequent 
among those Statistic friends of ours, is one of the most 
afflictive phenomena the mind of man can be called 
to contemplate. One prays that it at least might 
cease. Let Paralysis retire into secret places, and 
dormitories proper for it ; the public highways ought 



not to be occupied by people demonstrating that mo- 
tion is impossible. Paralytic; — and also, thank Heaven, 
entirely false I Listen to a thinker of another sort : 
' All evil, and this evil too, is as a nightmare ; the 
instant you begin to stir under it, the evil is, properly 
speaking, gone.' Consider, O reader, whether it be 
not actually so ? Evil, once manfully fronted, ceases to 
be evil ; there is generous battle-hope in place of dead 
passive misery ; the evil itself has become a kind of 

To the practical man, therefore, we will repeat 
that he has, as the first thing he can < do,' to gird 
himself up for actual doing ; to know well that he is 
either there to do, or not there at all. Once rightly 
girded up, how many things will present themselves 
as doable which now are not attemptible I Two things, 
great things, dwell, for the last ten years, in all 
thinking heads in England ; and are hovering, of late, 
even on the tongues of not a few. With a word on 
each of these, we will dismiss the practical man, and 
right gladly take ourselves into obscurity and silence 
again. Universal Education is the first great thing 
we mean ; general Emigration is the second. 

Who would suppose that Education were a thing 
which had to be advocated on the ground of local 
expediency, or indeed on any ground ? As if it stood 
not on the basis of everlasting duty, as a prime neces- 
sity of man. It is a thing that should need no advo- 
cating ; much as it does actually need. To impart the 
gift of thinking to those who cannot think, and yet 
who could in that case think : this, one would imagine. 


was the first function a government had to set about 
discharging. Were it not a cruel thing to see, in any 
province of an empire, the inhabitants living all muti- 
lated in their limbs, each strong man with his right- 
arm lamed ? How much crueller to find the strong 
soul, with its eyes still sealed, its eyes extinct so that 
it sees not ! Light has come into the world, but to 
this poor peasant it has come in vain. For six thou- 
sand years the Sons of Adam, in sleepless effort, have 
been devising, doing, discovering; in mysterious infi- 
nite indissoluble communion, warring, a little band of 
brothers, against the great black empire of Necessity 
and Night ; they have accomplished such a conquest 
and conquests : and to this man it is all as if it had 
not been. The four-and-twenty letters of the Alpha- 
bet are still Runic enigmas to him. He passes by on 
the other side ; and that great Spiritual Kingdom, the 
toilwon conquest of his own brothers, all that his 
brothers have conquered, is a thing non-extant for 
him. An invisible empire ; he knows it not, suspects 
it not. And is it not his withal ; the conquest of his 
own brothers, the lawfully acquired possession of all 
men ? Baleful enchantment lies over him, from gene* 
ration to generation; he knows not that such an 
empire is his, that such an empire is at all. O, what 
are bills of rights, emancipations of black slaves into 
black apprentices, lawsuits in chancery for some short 
usufruct of a bit of land ? The grand * seedfield of 
Time' is this man's, and you give it him not. Time's 
seedfield, which includes the Earth and all her seed- 
fields and pearl-oceans, nay her sowers too and pearl- 
divers, all that was wise and heroic and victorious here 


below ; of which the Earth's centuries are but as fur- 
rows, for it stretches forth from the Beginning onward 
even into this Day ! 

' Mj inherituice, bow lordlj wide and foir ; 
Tune is mj £ur seedfield, to Time I*m heir !' 

Heavier wrong is not done under the sun. It lasts 
from year to year, from century to century; the 
blinded sire slaves himself out, and leaves a blinded 
son ; and men, made in the image of God, continue 
as two-legged beasts of labour; — and in the largest 
empire of the world, it is a debate whether a small 
fraction of the Revenue of one Day (30,000/- is but 
that) shall, after Thirteen Centuries, be laid out on it, 
or not laid out on it. Have we Governors, have we 
Teachers ; have we had a Church these thirteen hun- 
dred years ? What is an Overseer of souls, an Arch- 
overseer, Archiepiscopus ? Is he something ? If so, 
let him lay his hand on his heart, and say what 
thing ! 

But quitting all that, of which the human soul 
cannot well speak in terms of civility, let us observe 
now that Education is not only an eternal duty, but 
has at length become even a temporary and ephemeral 
one, which the necessities of the hour will oblige us to 
look after. These Twenty-four million labouring men, 
if their affairs remain unregulated, chaotic, will burn 
ricks and mills ; reduce us, themselves and the world 
into ashes and ruin. Simply their affairs cannot re- 
main unregulated, chaotic; but must be regulated, 
brought into some kind of order. What intellect 
were able to regulate them ? The intellect of a Bacon, 


. I 


the energy of a Luther, if left to their own strength, 
might pause in dismay before such a task; a Bacoti 
and Luther added together, to be perpetual prime 
minister over us, could not do it. No one great and 
greatest intellect can do it. What can ? Only Twenty- 
four million ordinary intellects, once awakened into 
action; these, well presided over, may. Intellect, 
insight, is the discernment of order in disorder; it is 
the discovery of the will of Nature, of God's will ; the 
beginning of the capability to walk according to that. 
With perfect intellect, were such possible without per- 
fect morality, the world would be perfect ; its efforts 
unerringly correct, its results continually successful, 
its condition • faultless. Intellect is like light ; the 
Chaos becomes a World under it : fiat Itujc, These 
Twenty-four million intellects are but common in- 
tellects ; but they are intellects ; in earnest about the 
matter, instructed each about his own province of it ; 
labouring each perpetually, with what partial light 
can be attained, to bring such province into rationality. 
From the partial determinations and their conflict, 
springs the universal. Precisely what quantity of 
intellect was in the Twenty-four millions will be ex- 
hibited by the result they arrive at; that quantity 
and no more. According as there was intellect or 
no intellect in the individuals, will the general con- 
clusion they make out embody itself as a world- 
healing Truth and Wisdom, or as a baseless fateful 
Hallucination, a Chimaera breathing not fabulous fire! 
Dissenters call for one scheme of Education, the 
Church objects; this party objects, and that; there is 
endless objection, by him and by her and by it: a 

F 2 


subject encumbered with difficulties on every side ! 
Pity that difficulties exist ; that Religion, of all things, 
should occasion difficulties. We do not extenuate 
them : in their reality they are considerable ; in their 
appearance and pretension, they are insuperable, heart- 
appalling to all Secretaries of the Home Department. 
For, in very truth, how can Religion be divorced from 
Education? An irreverent knowledge is no know- 
ledge ; may be a development of the logical or other 
handicraft^faculty inward or outward ; but is no cul- 
ture of the soul of a man. A knowledge that ends in 
barren self-worship, comparative indifference or con- 
tempt for all God's Universe except one insignificant 
item thereof, what is it? Handicraft development, 
and even shallow as handicraft. Nevertheless is handi- 
craft itself, and the habit of the merest logic, nothing ? 
It is already something ; it is the indispensable begin- 
ning of every thing I Wise men know it to be an 
indispensable something; not yet much; and would 
so gladly superadd to it the element whereby it may 
become all. Wise men would not quarrel in attempt- 
ing this ; they would lovingly co-operate in attempt- 
ing it. 

* And now how teach religion T so asks the indig- 
nant Ultra-radical, cited above ; an Ultra-radical seem- 
ingly not of the Benthamee species, with whom, though 
bis dialect is far different, there are sound Churchmen, 
we hope, who have some fellow-feeling : ' How teach 
religion? By plying with liturgies, catechisms, cre- 
dos ; droning thirty-nine or other articles incessantly 
into the infant ear? Friends I In that case, why not 
apply to Birmingham, and have Machines made, and 



set up at all street-corners, in highways and byways, 
to repeat and vociferate the same, not ceasing night 
or day ? The genius of Birmingham is adequate to 
that. A Ibertus. Magnus had a leather man that could 
articulate ; not to speak of Martinus Scriblerus' Niirn- 9 
berg man that could reason as well as we know who I ^ M^ 
Depend upon it, Birmingham can make machines to 
repeat liturgies and articles ; to do whatsoever feat is 
mechanical. And what were all schoolmasters, nay 
all priests and churches compared with this Birming- 
ham Iron Church I Votes of two millions in aid of 
the church were then something. You order, at so 
many pounds a-head, so many thousand iron parsons 
as your grant covers ; and fix them by satisfactory 
masonry in all quarters wheresoever wanted, to preach 
there independent of the world. In loud thorough- 
fares, still more in unawakened districts, troubled with 
argumentative infidelity, you make the windpipes 
wider, strengthen the main steam- cylinder ; your par- 
son preaches, to the due pitch, while you give him 
coal ; and fears no man or thing. Here were a * Church- 
extension ;' to which I, with my last penny, did I be- 
lieve in it, would subscribe. Ye blind leaders of 

the blind I Are we Calmucks, that pray by turning 
of a rotatory calebash with written prayers in it ? Is 
Mammon and machinery the means of converting 
human souls, as of spinning cotton ? Is God, as Jean 
Paul predicted it would be, become verily a Force ; 
the iEther too a Gas I Alas, that Atheism should have 
got the length of putting on priests' vestments, and » 

penetrating into the sanctuary itself I Can dronings 
of articles, repetitions of liturgies, and all the cash and 


contrivance of Birmingham and the Bank of England 
united bring ethereal fire into a human soul, quicken 
it out of earthly darkness into heavenly wisdom ? Soul 
is kindled only by soul. To " teach" religion, the first 
thing needful, and also the last and the only thing, is 
finding of a man who has religion. All else follows 
from this, church-building, church-extension, what- 
ever else is needful follows ; without this nothing will 

From which we for our part conclude that the 
method of teaching religion to the English people is 
still far behindhand ; that the wise and pious may 
well ask themselves in silence wistfully, " How is that 
last priceless element, by which education becomes 
perfect, to be superadded?" and the unwise who think 
themselves -pious, answering aloud, " By this method. 
By that method," long argue of it to small purpose. 

But now, in the mean time,f^ould not by some 
fit ofiicial person, some fit announcement be made, in 
words well-weighed, in plan well-schemed, adequately 
representing the facts of the thing. That after thirteen 
centuries of waiting, he the ofiicial person, and England 
with him, was minded now to have the mystery of the 
Alphabetic Letters imparted to all human souls in. this 
realm ? -^Teaching of religion was a thing he ^ould 
not undertake to settle this day ; it would be work for 
a day after this ; the work of this day was teaching of 
the alphabet to all people. The miraculous art of read- 
ing and writing, such seemed to him the needful pre- 
liminary of all teaching, the first corner-stone of what 
foundation soever could be laid for what edifice soever, 
in the teaching kind. Let pious Churchism make 



haste, let pious Dissenterism make haste, let all pious 
preachers and missionaries make haste, bestir them- 
selves according to their zeal and skill : he the official 
person stood up for the Alphabet ; and was even im- 
patient for it, having waited thirteen centuries now. 
He insisted, and would take no denial, postponement, 
promise, excuse or subterfuge. That all English per- 
sons should be taught to read. He appealed to all 
rational Englishmen, of all creeds, classes and colours. 
Whether this was not a fair demand ; nay whether it 
was not an indispensable one in these days. Swing and 
Chartism having risen ? For a choice of inoffensive 
Hornbooks, and Schoolmasters able to teach reading, 
he trusted the mere secular sagacity of a National 
Collective Wisdom, in proper committee, might be 
found sufficient. He purposed to appoint such School- 
masters, to venture on the choice of such Hornbooks ; 
to send a Schoolmaster and Hornbook into every 
township, parish and hamlet of England ; so that, in 
ten years hence, an Englishman who could not read 
might be acknowledged as the monster, which he 
really is I 

This official person's plan we do not give. The 
thing lies there, with the facts of it, and with the ap- 
pearances or sham-facts of it ; a plan adequately repre- 
senting the facts of the thing could by human energy 
be struck out, does lie there for discovery and striking 
out. It is his, the official person's duty, not ours, to 
mature a plan. We can believe that Churchism and 
Dissenterism would clamour aloud ; but yet that in 
the mere secular Wisdom of Parliament a perspicacity 
equal to the choice of Hornbooks might, in very deed. 


be found to reside. England we believe would, if con- 
sulted, resolve to that effect. Alas, grants of a half- 
day's revenue once in the thirteen centuries for such 
an object, do not call out the voice of England, only 
the superficial clamour of England ! Hornbooks unex- 
ceptionable to the candid portion of England, we will 
believe, might be selected. Nay, we can conceive that 
Schoolmasters fit to teach reading might, by a board of 
rational men, whether from Oxford or Hoxton, or from 
both or neither of these places, be pitched upon. We 
can conceive even, as in Prussia, that a penalty, civil 
disabilities, that penalties and disabilities till they were 
found effectual, might be by law inflicted on every 
parent who did not teach his children to read, on 
every man who had not been taught to read. We can 
conceive in fine, such is the vigour of our imagination, 
there might be found in England, at a dead-lift, 
strength enough to perform this miracle, and produce 
it henceforth as a miracle done : the teaching of Eng- 
land to read I Harder things, we do know, have been 
performed by nations before now, not abler-looking 
than England. Ah me ! if, by some beneficent chance, 
there should be an official man found in England 
who could and would, with deliberate courage, after 
ripe counsel, with candid insight, with patience, prac- 
tical sense, knowing realities to be real, knowing 
clamours to be clamorous and to seem real, propose 
this thing, and the innumerable things springing from 
it, — wo to any Churchisra or any Dissenterism that 
cast itself athwart the path of that man ! A vaunt ye 
gainsayers I is darkness and ignorance of the Alphabet 
necessary for you ? Reconcile yourselves to the Al- 


phabet, or depart elsewhither! — ^Would not all that 
has genuineness in England gradually rally round 
such a man ; all that has strength in England ? For 
realities alone have strength ; wind-bags are wind; cant 
is cant, leave it alone there. Nor are all clamours mo- 
mentous : among living creatures, we find, the loudest 
is the longest-eared ; among lifeless things the loudest is 
the drum, the emptiest. Alas, that official persons, and 
all of us, had not eyes to see what was real, what was 
merely chimerical, and thought or called itself real ! 
How many dread minatory Castle-spectres should we 
leave there, with their admonishing right-hand and 
ghastly-burning saucer-eyes, to do simply whatsoever 
they might find themselves able to do I Alas, that we 
were not real ourselves ; we should otherwise have surer 
vision for the real. Castle-spectres, in their utmost ter- 
ror, are but poor mimicries of that real and most real 
terror which lies in the Life of every Man : that, thou 
coward, is the thing to be afraid of, if thou wilt live in 
fear. It is but the scratch of a bare bodkin ; it is but 
the flight of a few days of time; and even thou, poor 
palpitating featherbrain, wilt find how real it is. 
Eternity : hast thou heard of that ? Is that a fact, 
or is it no fact? Are Buckingham House and St. 
Stephens in that, or not in that ? 

But now we have to speak of the second great , 

thing : Emigration. It was said above, all new epochs,^ 
so convulsed and tumultuous to look upon, are ^ ex- 
pansions,' increase of faculty not yet organised. It is ^ 
eminently true of the confusions of this time of ours. 
Disorganic Manchester afflicts us with its Chartisms ; 


yet is not spinning of clothes for the naked intrinsi- 
cally a most blessed thing? Manchester once or- 
ganic will bless and not afflict. The confusions, if we 
would understand them, are at bottom mere increase 
which we know not yet how to manage ; * new wealth 
which the old coffers will not hold.* How true is this, 
above all, of the strange phenomenon called * over- 
population I* Over-population is the grand anomaly, 
which is bringing all other anomalies to a crisis. Now 
once more, as at the end of the Roman Empire, a 
most confused epoch and yet one of the greatest, the 
Teutonic Countries find themselves too full. On a 
certain western rim of our small Europe, there are 
more men than were expected. Heaped up against 
the western shore there, and for a couple of hundred 
miles inward, the * tide of population * swells too high, 
and confuses itself somewhat ! Over-population ? And 
yet, if this small western rim of Europe is overpeo- 
pled, does not everywhere else a whole vacant Earth, 
as it were, call to us. Come and till me, come and reap 
me I Can it be an evil that in an Earth such as ours 
there should be new Men i^' Considered as mercantile 
commodities, as working machines, is there in Bir- 
mingham or out of it a machine of such value? 
*, Good Heavens I a white European Man, standing on 
his two legs, with his two five-fingered Hands at ^is 
shackle-bones, and miraculous Head on his shoulders, 
is worth something considerable, one would say I* The 
stupid black African man brings money in the market ; 
the much stupider four-footed horse brings money :— • 
it is we that have not yet learned the art of managing 
our white European man ! 


The controversies on Malthus and the ' Population 
Principle/ * Preventive check' and so forth, with which 
the public ear has been deafened for a long while, are 
indeed sufficiently mournful. Dreary, stolid, dismal, 
without hope for this world or the next, is all that of 
the preventive check and the denial ef the preventive 
check. Anti-Malthusians quoting their Bible against 
palpable facts, are not a pleasant spectacle. On the 
other hand, how oftQii have we read in Malthusian 
benefactors of the species : ' The working people have 
their condition in their own hands; let them dimi- 
nish the supply of labourers, and of course the demand 
and the remuneration will increase I' Yes, let them 
diminish the supply : but who are they ? They are 
twenty-four millions of human individuals, scattered 
over a hundred and eighteen thousand square miles 
of space and more ; weaving, delving, hammering, 
joinering ; each unknown to his neighbour ; each dis- 
tinct within his own skin. They are not a kind of 
character that can take a resolution, and act on it, 
very readily. Smart Sally in our alley proves ail-too 
fascinating to brisk Tom in yours : can Tom be called 
on to make pause, and calculate the demand for la- 
bour in the British Empire first ? Nay, if Tom did 
renounce his highest blessedness of life, and struggle 
and conquer like a Saint Francis of Assisi, what would 
it profit him or us ? Seven millions of the finest 
peasantry do not renounce, but proceed all the more 
briskly ; and with blue-visaged Hibernians instead of 
fair Saxon Tomsons and Sallysons, the latter end of 
that country is worse than the beginning. O wonder- 
ful Malthusian prophets ! Millenniumsjire undoubt- 



edly coming, must come one way or the other :, but 
will it be, think you, by twenty millions of working 
people simultaneously striking work in that depart- 
ment ; passing, in universal trades-union, a resolution 
not to beget any more till the labour-market become 
satisfactory ? By Day and Night ! they were indeed 
irresistible so ; not to be compelled by law or war ; 
might make their own terms with the richer classes, 
and defy the world I 

A shade more rational is that of those other bene- 
factors of the species, who counsel that in each parish, 
in some central locality, instead of the Parish Clergy- 
man, there might be established some Parish Exter- 
minator ; or say a Reservoir of Arsenic, kept up at 
the public expense, free to all parishioners ; for which 
Church the rates probably would not be grudged. — Ah, 
it is bitter jesting on such a subject. One's heart is 
sick to look at the dreary chaos, and valley of Jehosa- 
phat, scattered with the limbs and souls of one's fellow- 
men ; and no divine voice, only creaking of hungry 
vultures, inarticulate bodeful ravens, horn-eyed parrots 
that do articulate, proclaiming, Let these bones live ! — 
Dante's Divina Commedia is called the mournfullest of 
books: transcendent mistemper of the noblest soul; ut- 
terance of a boundless, godlike, unspeakable, implacable 
sorrow and protest against the world. But in Holy- 
well Street, not long ago, we bought, for three-pence, a 
book still mournfuUer : the Pamphlet of one "Marcus," 
whom his poor Chartist editor and republisher calls 
the " Demon Author." This Marcus Pamphlet was 
the book alluded to by Stephens the Preacher Chartist, 
in one of his harangues : it proves to b^ no fable that 



such a book existed; here it lies, * Printed by John Hill, 
Black-horse Court, Fleet Street, and now reprinted 
for the instruction of the labourer, by William Dug- 
dale, Holywell Street, Strand,* the exasperated Char- 
tist editor who sells it you for three-pence. We have 
read Marcus ; but his sorrow is not divine. We hoped 
he would turn out to have been in sport : ah no, it is 
grim earnest with him ; grim as very death. Marcus 
is not a demon author at all : he is a benefactor of the 
species in his own kind ; has looked iiitensely on the 
world's woes, from a Benthamee Malthusian watch- 
tower, under a Heaven dead as iron ; and does now, 
with much longwind^dness, in a drawling, snuffling, 
circuitous, extremely dull, yet at bottom handfast and 
positive manner, recommend that all children of work- 
ing people, after the third, be disposed of by * painless 
extinction.' Charcoal-vapour and other methods exist. 
The mothers would consent, might be made to con- 
sent. Three children might be left living ; or perhaps, 
for Marcus's calculations are not yet perfect, two and 
a half. There might be * beautiful cemeteries with 
colonnades and flower-plots,' in which the patriot in- 
fanticide matrons might delight to take their evening 
walk of contemplation ; and reflect what patriotesses 
they were, what a cheerful flowery world it was. Such 
is the scheme of Marcus; this is what he, for his 
share, could devise to heal the world's woes. A bene- 
factor of the species, clearly recognisable as such : the 
saddest scientific mortal we have ever in this world 
fallen in with ; sadder even than poetic Dante. His is 
a wogod-like sorrow ; sadder than the godlike. The 
Chartist editor, dull as he, calls him demon author, 


and a man set on by the Poor-Law Commissioners. 
What a black, godless, waste-struggling world, in 
this once merry England of ours, do such pamphlets 
and such editors betoken I Laissez-faire and Malthas, 
Malthus and Laissez-faire : ought not these two at 
length to part company? Might we not hope that 
both of them had as good as delivered their message 
now, and were about to go their ways ? 

For all this of the ' painless extinction,' and the 
rest, is in a world where Canadian Forests stand un- 
felled, boundless Plains and Prairies unbroken with 
the plough ; on the west and on the east, green desert 
spaces never yet made white with corn ; and to the 
overcrowded little western nook of Europe, our Terres- 
trial Pla,net, nine -tenths of it yet vacant or tenanted 
by nomades, is still crying, Come and till me, come 
and reap me ! And in an England with wealth, and 
means for moving, such as no nation ever before had. 
With ships ; with war -ships rotting idle, which, but 
bidden move and not rot, might bridge all oceans. 
With trained men, educated to pen and practise, to 
administer and act ; briefless Barristers, chargeless 
Clergy, taskless Scholars, languishing in all court- 
houses, hiding in obscure garrets, besieging all ante- 
chambers, in passionate want of simply one thing. 
Work ; — ^with as many Half-pay Oflieers of both Ser- 
vices, wearing themselves down in wretched tedium, 
as might lead an Emigrant host larger than Xerxes' 
was I Laissez-faire and Malthus positively must part 
company. Is it not as if this swelling, simmering, 
never-resting Europe of ours stood, once more, on the 
verge of an expansion without parallel ; struggling. 


struggling like a mighty tree again about to burst in 
the embrace of summer, and shoot forth broad frondent 
boughs which would fill the whole earth ? A disease ; 
but the noblest of all, — as of her who is in pain and 
sore travail, but travails that she may be a mother, 
and say. Behold, there is a new Man born I 

' True thou Gold-Hofrath,' exclaims an eloquent 
satirical German of our acquaintance, in that strange 
Book of his,* ' True thou Gold-Hofrath : too crowded 
indeed ! Meanwhile what portion of this inconsider- 
able Terraqueous Globe have ye actually tilled and 
delved, till it will grow no more ? How thick stands 
your population in the Pampas and Savannas of 
America ; round ancient Carthage, and in the interior 
of Africa ; on both slopes of the Altaic chain, in the 
central Platform of Asia ; in Spain, Greece, Turkey, 
Crim Tartary, the Curragh of Kildare ? One man, 
in one year, as I have understood it, if you lend him 
earth, will feed himself and nine others. Alas, where 
now are the Hengsts and Alarics of our still glowing, 
still expanding Europe ; who, when their home is 
grown too narrow, will enlist and, like fire-pillars, 
guide onwards those superfluous masses of indomitable 
living Valour ; equipped, not now with the battle-axe 
and war-chariot, but with the steamengine and plough- 
share ? Where are they ? — Preserving their Game V 

* Sartor Resartos, p. 239. 


46 St. Martin's Lune. 



Second Edition. 
In 3 vols. 12mo, price II. 5s., cloth and lettered, 


Vol. I. — The Bastille. Vol. II. — The Constitution. 

Vol. III. — The Guillotine. 


A new Edition, revised. 

In 3 vols. 12mo, 11. 5s., cloth and lettered, 






In 1 vol. small 8vo, price lOs 6d. 



In three Books. 


A new Edition in the Press, of 


*;i5* The principal contents of these four volumes are : Jean 
Paul Friedrich Richter — State of German Literature — Werner 
— Goethe's Helena — Goethe — Burns — Heyne — German Play- 
wrights — Voltaire — Novalis — Signs of the Times — Jean Paul 
Friedrich Richter again — On History— Schiller — The Nibel- 
lungen Lied — Early German Literature — Taylor's Historic Sur- 
vey of German Poetry — Characteristics — Johnson — Death of 
Goethe — Goethe's Works — DiderQt — On History again — Count 
Cagliostro — Com - Law Rhymes — The Diamond Necklace — 
Mirabeau — French Parliamentary History — Walter Scott — 


jSeV* off